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Nate Lashley reacts after making par on the 15th green during round three of the 2019 Rocket Mortgage Classic.
By Christopher Powers
In 32 career starts on the PGA Tour, Nate Lashley has zero wins and has finished in the top 10 only once, and that result came in an opposite-field event earlier this season at the Puerto Rico Open. On Sunday, he’ll enter the final round of the Rocket Mortgage Classic with a six-shot lead following his second round of nine-under 63 on Saturday at Detroit Golf Club.
Lashley, 36, does have previous winning experience, his lone professional victory coming at the 2017 Corales Puntacana Resort and Club Championship on the Korn Ferry Tour. He’s made only one bogey this week, and his 24 total birdies are the most of any player in the field.
While the tournament is not over yet, Sunday could very well be a victory lap for Lashley, whose heartbreaking backstory came to light following his Korn Ferry Tour win in 2017. During his junior year at the University of Arizona in 2004, Lashley’s parents and his girlfriend visited him in Oregon while he competed in the 2004 NCAA West Regional. Afterwards, Lashley returned to Arizona, while his parents and girlfriend flew back to his hometown of Scottsbluff, Neb. Days later, Lashley was informed that they had been killed in a plane crash near Gannett Peak in Wyoming.
“It was pretty tough for quite a while, definitely for a few years,” Lashley told the Lake County News Sun in 2016. “I tried to use golf in college as something to do other than always think about it. Golf is very mental. It was difficult to play and tough because you always are going to think about it.”
Fifteen years and one month later, Lashley has a chance to notch is very first PGA Tour win.
The next closest competitor is J.T Poston, who fired a six-under 66 to reach 17-under 199. Cameron Tringale is alone in third at 16 under, while Patrick Reed is in solo fourth at 15 under.