Jacket of Honor

Nov. 6, 2011

By Matt Winklejohn

Sting Daily

Roberto Castro travels a couple dozen times a year to work and spends almost as much time out of town as in it, but he’ll be at his alma mater Thursday night.

A pro golfer on the rise, Castro thoroughly enjoys Georgia Tech football, and he’ll pull for his beloved Yellow Jackets when they take on Virginia Tech.

Win or lose you can bet the man will be happy. He just earned a PGA Tour card, and that means next year he’ll play with the big boys and go for the big money.

“I played the mini-tours for three years, and the money is pretty small,” he said. “My first three [pro] years, I didn’t get through that qualifier, but . . . I think I’ve improved physically and by gaining experience. I know how to deal with more situations now.”

Castro dealt quite nicely with most situations while at Tech. The Alpharetta native won the Byron Nelson Award in ’07 as the nation’s top collegiate golfer. He earned All-ACC and All-America honors in each of his four seasons on The Flats.

With a 17th-place finish last week in the Nationwide Tour Championship, he moved to 23rd on the Nationwide money list with more than $186,000 earned for the season. In 25 outings this season, he had four top-10 finishes, and 13 times was in the top 25.

By contrast, in ’10 he had one top-10 finish in 12 Nationwide outings, and earned $106,000. In ’09, he finished in the top 10 once in five Nationwide events while missing the cut three times, and earned about $28,000 for the year. He missed the cut in his only ’08 Nationwide tournament.

Castro lives in Buckhead now, and he’s no stranger to Tech. He uses the practice facility occasionally, and speaks often with his college coach, Bruce Heppler.

“We talk a good bit about all kinds of stuff, the team, my golf and what not,” Castro said. “He’s seen quite a few guys come out of school and play professionally.”

The season is not over yet. Castro plans to play in the final stage of qualifying school in a few weeks, an event at PGA West in LaQuinta, Calif.

“I’m going to try and improve my status for next year,” he said. “The higher the status you have the more events you can get into. I would like to get into a few more events next year.”

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