Stories can not get better than this to start your Monday morning.
Nate Lashley who went wire to wire to the first PGA Tour tournament in Detroit shouldn’t have been in the field. He failed to qualify for the Rocket Mortgage Classic at the Detroit Golf Club on the Monday but slowly moved up the alternate list. On Wednesday he found out in the tournament and today he can call himself a PGA Tour winner. The battler has earned a check for $1.314 million USD and tour card with life changing Tour exemptions.
Lashley shared a special moment with his sister Brooke on the 18th
as she is probably the only person in the world to understand what it took to get to that moment. 15 years ago tragedy hit the family when a light plane crash claimed the lives of their parents, Rod and Char, and also Nate’s then girlfriend, Leslie Hofmeister.
They had all flown in Rod’s four seater, single-engine Mooeny M20K from Nebraska to watch Nate play in the NCAA Regional and were returning home.
“It was just shock,” Lashley told ESPN in 2017. “Shock and disbelief. It was a really tough time, especially that week with the funerals and the memorial service. I was just kind of out of it.”
Lashley, who said golf was a way “to get away from it all” after that tragic day, struggled to find his way in the pro game, at least one time hanging up his clubs for good.
“I thought I was pretty much done with golf,” he said. “I always felt like I had the talent and ability to play out here and it was just a matter of getting out here and getting comfortable. It’s not an easy thing to do.”
“The rest of us don’t have a clue how he feels,” said Rick LaRose, who was Lashley’s coach at the University of Arizona 15 years ago when life changed forever.
Brooke who flew to Pebble Beach two weeks ago to watch her brother play the U.S Open had no plans to go to Detroit but that quickly changed as Nate had a pair of 63’s on the Thursday and Saturday which saw him with a 6 shot lead heading into the final round.
The older sister said to herself “I cannot be there” so with other family friends all jumped on a flight Saturday evening to watch Nate Lashley compete in the final round. Things were looking good and on the right track when Lashley birdied two of the first three holes but gave it back on the 6th
but he was in control of the tournament. He turned with a 6 shot lead and kept that lead with additional birdies on the 13th
to win by six strokes as he finished at 25 under. Not bad for someone who missed the Monday qualifying and had to wait to get a start. Doc Redman finished runner up to Lashley which was a solid performance for him but all eyes were on the winner.
“It made me feel like I wasn’t out there alone,” said Lashley, 36, a second-year member playing in just his 33rd TOUR tournament.
“Just really emotional right now,” Lashley said on Sunday night, fighting back tears. “Truly thankful I got into the golf tournament. Winning on the PGA Tour was always a dream and getting that done today was a great accomplishment.”
“I just felt like I really needed to be in the tournament because I was playing really well,” he said. “Being first alternate’s no fun, to be out of the tournament by just one spot. So realistically I’m just real thankful to get in this week and glad I took advantage of it.”