Ricky Castillo proved he was a winner years ago and he did it again in his professional debut.
The 22-year-old Castillo, from Yorba Linda, made a par on the first playoff hole to turn back Kyle Jones and Adrien Dumont de Chassart of Belgium in the Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Kansas Wichita Open on the Korn Ferry Tour at Crestview Country Club in Wichita, Kan.
Castillo became the 19th player in Korn Ferry Tour history to win his debut.
“I’m just really grateful for the opportunity just to be able to play in this event, and to be able to win is just an awesome feeling,” said Castillo, who 18 days earlier went undefeated in the match play finals to help the University of Florida capture the NCAA Championship. “I’m just grateful; that’s the only feeling I have right now.
“It’s great to win on Father’s Day because my Dad’s been a really huge role model in my life, plus my Grandma. My Dad wanted me to be a good golfer but he cared more about me being a good person, and I think that was what he really cared about. That’s what I’ve really focused on. Golf is great and everything, but you’re going to be remembered for the good things you do like the Rickie Fowlers and the Jordan Spieths.”
In the playoff, Castillo hit his drive into the greenside rough, but got up-and-down for par, while Jones and Dumont de Chassart both hit wild drives en route to bogeys and Castillo had his first trophy as a pro after winning many as an amateur.
Castillo captured the 2023 and 2020 Florida Gators Invitational, the 2023 and 2020 Sea Best Invitational, the 2019 Yorba Linda City Championship, the 2018 RSM Amateur, and the 2016 and 2018 Heather Farr American Junior Golf Association Championships—among numerous others.
Not on that, Castillo, a graduate of Valencia High in Placentia, was named a two-time AJGA Rolex Junior All-American and represented the United States at the 2018 Junior Ryder Cup.
Castillo, playing in the Wichita Open on a sponsor’s exemption he received the week before, drove 180 miles from Gainesville, Fla., and then posted a score of 67-62-66-66—261, 19-under-par, while Jones finished at 62-66-67-66—261, and Dumont de Chassart, who won his Korn Ferry Tour debut a week earlier, wound up at 64-64-63-70—261.
Alejandro Tosti of Argentina carded score of 70-65-67-60—222 to tie for fourth with Zach Bauchou, who shot 66-69-64-63—262, and Parker Coody, who came in at 69-66-64-63—262.
Jake Knapp of Costa Mesa and UCLA finished at 68-64-69-62—263 and wound up in a big tie for seventh with Brandon McIver (69-66-66-62—263), Jay Card III (64-67-66-66—263), Brian Campbell of Irvine (65-57-64-67—263), and Martin Flores (64-67-64-68—263.)