Nate Lashley, a 36-year-old Mitchell, Nebraska native, became only the fourth Nebraskan to ever win a PGA Tour event, winning the Rocket Mortgage Classic Sunday. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
Mitchell native claims PGA Tour title Sunday
Mitchell native Nate Lashley completed an unlikely wire-to-wire victory in the Rocket Mortgage Classic in Detroit on Sunday for his first PGA Tour title.
Lashley closed with a 2-under 70 to finish at 25-under 263 and win by six shots, the margin he took into the day after opening with rounds of 63, 67 and 63.
The 36-year-old Lashley’s parents and girlfriend were killed in a plane crash 15 years ago. He dabbled in real estate after graduating from the University of Arizona, quit playing professional golf several years ago and resumed playing in the PGA Tour’s minor leagues.
“Without my parents, I wouldn’t have started playing golf when I was little,” said Lashley, who began playing when he was eight. “They did everything to help me have a career.”
Lashley became the fourth Nebraska native to win a PGA Tour event, joining Johnny Goodman, Tom Sieckmann and Mark Calcavecchia.
Lashley, the 353rd ranked player in the world, slipped into PGA Tour’s first event in Detroit as an alternate Wednesday.
The Nebraskan took full advantage, shooting a career-low 63 in the first round to take a lead he refused to lose at Detroit Golf Club. Lashley stayed atop the leaderboard with a 67 on Friday and gave himself a cushion with another 9-under 63 Saturday.
On the brink of breaking through during his second PGA Tour season, his sister, girlfriend, buddies and family friends flew to Detroit to join him.
Brooke Lashley, who lives near her brother in Arizona, was in awe as fans followed and cheered for her little brother as they stood along the ropes from tee to green.
“I’m sure a lot of these people didn’t know him a couple days ago,” she said, standing near the No. 8 green. “He’s doing all he can to focus, but this is so incredible. It’s foreign to him because he’s never had this much attention. He’s never played in front of a gallery like this with TV cameras all over the place.”
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