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This time last week, Nate Lashley was packing his bags to go to a Monday qualifying event for the Rocket Mortgage Classic.

Seven days later, and despite coming up just short in that qualifier, Lashley is a PGA Tour winner for the first time, bringing his quite remarkable story of heartbreak and heartache full circle.

The 36-year-old, who sneaked into the field at Detroit Golf Club as the first alternate, romped to a six-shot win over fellow Monday qualifier Doc Redman.

As well as the trophy, he also earned a two-year exemption for golf’s most lucrative circuit, a cheque for $1,314,000, a spot in this month’s Open and an invitation to next year’s Masters.

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He has also enjoyed a considerable rankings boost, leaping from 353rd in the world to 101st.

And yet the fact he was last man in for the tournament isn’t even the most compelling part of his story.

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How about the fact that he turned his back on his dreams of being a professional golfer in 2012 to become an estate agent?

Or the fact that, in 2004, on their way home from watching a then 21-year-old Lashley playing for his University of Arizona golf team, his parents and girlfriend were killed in a plane crash?

Nate Lashley 2

He has to face despair, doubt and more difficulty than most in his bid to reach the very top of the game. So, now that he’s there, no wonder he describes it as a ‘dream come true’.

“I’ve been through a lot,” said the Nebraskan after completing a wire-to-wire triumph. “It took a lot of years for me to get over my parents’ death, for sure. It was mentally holding me back for a long time.

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“I think about them all the time. And thinking about them today, I was getting a little emotional even walking up 18 even before I hit my second shot thinking about my parents, because without them I wouldn’t be sitting here right now.”

He added: “I’s a career changing event getting a win out here. It gives you job security, it gets you into majors, you have two more years to basically get more comfortable and play better golf. So you really can’t put into words how much this means. It’s just huge for my career.”

Who says nice guys always finish last?


author headshot

Michael McEwan is the Deputy Editor of bunkered and has been part of the team since 2004. In that time, he has interviewed almost every major figure within the sport, from Jack Nicklaus, to Rory McIlroy, to Donald Trump. The host of the multi award-winning bunkered Podcast and a member of Balfron Golfing Society, Michael is the author of three books and is the 2023 PPA Scotland 'Writer of the Year' and 'Columnist of the Year'. Dislikes white belts, yellow balls and iron headcovers. Likes being drawn out of the media ballot to play Augusta National.

Deputy Editor

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