Castro shoots 63, leads McIlroy at Players

Roberto Castro set the early pace Thursday at the Players Championship with a course record-tying 9-under 63.

Castro, making his Players debut, equaled the mark set by Fred Couples (1992) and Greg Norman (1994), and opened a 3-stroke lead over Rory McIlroy and Zach Johnson.

The world No. 2 McIlroy has failed to make the cut in three previous appearances at this event.

Also in the clubhouse were Steve Stricker, Hunter Mahan and Casey Wittenberg, who all shot 67s at TPC Sawgrass.

World No. 1 Tiger Woods, 2007 winner Phil Mickelson and defending champion Matt Kuchar are just underway.