Scores Continue to Plummet in Humana Challenge

There was no let-up in the scoring at the three courses used for the Humana Challenge, the $5.6 million PGA Tour event that began Thursday in La Quinta, Calif. After two rounds of the 72-hole tournament, the former Bob Hope Classic, second-year player Roberto Castro and Tour rookie James Hahn share the lead at 14-under 130.

Castro, a 27-year-old from Georgia, followed up his opening 63 with a 67 at the Palmer course, while Hahn, a 31-year-old ex-Cal player who was born in South Korea and now lives in Southern California, also shot a 67 at La Quinta Country Club. The third player who was tied for the lead after 18 holes, Jason Kokrak of Canada, posted a 69 at Nicklaus.

"It was fun. They had a lot of Sunday pins today," Castro told reporters. "I only played here one time, but the pins they used today were a lot of the ones they used Sunday last year. So I think Palmer was playing pretty tough. There was a lot of tucked pins. But same situation as yesterday, my playing partner was making a bunch of birdies too and we both kind of got going and had the mojo going the right way, so it was a good day"

Tied for third at 131 are Darron Stiles and Scott Stallings, who both shot 65 at La Quinta. Kokrak is among several players at 132.

Other low marks included a 9-under 63 by Bud Cauley at Palmer, while Matt Kuchar and Sweden's David Lingmerth each fired 64s, both at Nicklaus.

After opening with a ho-hum, even-par 72, Phil Mickelson, playing in his season opener, shot a 67 at Nicklaus Private.

Mickelson noted a change in his play at the end of the round. "The last two holes was the first time that I actually hit solid shots and my rhythm felt good and I made good swings," said the four-time major champion, who's at 5-under 139 for the tournament. "I've been quick from the top, my rhythm has been off, and I've hit a bunch of squirrelly shots. I made a lot of rusty mistakes, like that 3 putt there, but it feels a lot better, the last couple holes feel a lot better, I'm looking forward to tomorrow's round."

Defending champion Mark Wilson saw a significant improvement after his 77 at La Quinta CC on Thursday. The 38-year-old from Wisconsin rebounded with a 6-under 66 at Nicklaus to reach 1-under 143. Last year Wilson totaled 24-under 264, the first time the pro-celebrity tournament was played at 72 holes.

Instead of finalizing the field for the last two rounds after 36 holes, the cut in the Humana Challenge takes place after three rounds, with the top-70 and ties playing in Sunday's final round at the Palmer course.

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