Nate Lashley's inspiring story: A plane crash and the will to keep playing golf

CLOSE

The British Open at Royal Portrush is the only remaining major as the new look PGA Tour schedule winds down with two regular season events left after the Rocket Mortgage Classic at the Detroit Golf Club.
Golfweek, USA Today Network

As Nate Lashley takes the Rocket Mortgage Classic field by surprise, here’s what we know about the 36-year-old, who has a six-shot lead heading into Sunday’s final round at Detroit Golf Club.

Ranked No. 353 in the world and No. 132 in the 2019 FedEx Cup standings, Lashley turned pro in 2005 after graduating from the University of Arizona. The Scottsbluff, Nebraska, native played on the Korn Ferry Tour in 2006, but missed the cut in 12 of 14 events. He bounced around various smaller tours while selling real estate before his career turned around in 2015.

After qualifying for the PGA Tour LatinoAmerica in 2015, Lashley earned five top-10 finishes. The following year, he won three events and was named that tour’s player of the year. For his efforts, Lashley became exempt on the Korn Ferry Tour for 2017 and finished 11th on the money list to earn his PGA Tour card starting in 2018.

He suffered a knee injury in 2018 that stunted his rookie season, then bounced back to make 11 of 15 cuts in 2019, including an eighth-place finish at the Puerto Rico Open in February (his only top-10 finish on the PGA Tour). Lashley also had solid finishes at the Safeway Open (T-17), Sanderson Farms Championship (T-20), Desert Classic (T-12) and U.S. Open (T-28) this season.

Lashley has made $1.38 million during his career.

Fighting through adversity

While a junior at Arizona, his parents and girlfriend were killed in a plane crash on their way home from watching him compete at the 2004 NCAA West Regional.

“It was just shock,” Lashley said in a 2017 ESPN story. “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.”

He also said: “Golf was a release, something to get away from it all,” he says. “When you’re on the course, your focus is on golf. It took away some of the pain from thinking about my parents and my girlfriend and the crash.”

How he got here

Lashley, as third alternate, was the player added to the field for the 2019 Rocket Mortgage Classic. He found out he qualified on Wednesday. He shot a 9-under-par 63 on Thursday, a 5-under 67 on Friday and a second 9-under 63 on Saturday, taking the first 54-hole lead of his PGA Tour career.

Post to Facebook

Posted!

A link has been posted to your Facebook feed.

  • June 23: Chez Reavie holds the trophy after winning the Travelers Championship at TPC River Highlands.1 of 35
  • June 16: Gary Woodland poses with the trophy after winning the 2019 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach Golf Links.2 of 35
  • June 9: Rory McIlroy poses with the trophy after winning the RBC Canadian Open at Hamilton Golf  Country Club in Ancaster, Ontario.3 of 35
  • June 2: Patrick Cantlay poses with the trophy after winning the 2019 Memorial golf tournament at Muirfield Village Golf Club.4 of 35
  • May 26: Kevin Na  kneels with the winners trophy after winning the Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial Country Club.5 of 35
  • May 19: Brooks Koepka celebrates with the Wanamaker trophy after winning the PGA Championship.6 of 35
  • May 12: Sung Kang holds the trophy after winning the ATT Byron Nelson golf tournament, for his first career PGA Tour victory.7 of 35
  • May 5: Max Homa celebrates after winning his first career PGA title at the Wells Fargo Championhship.8 of 35
  • April 28: Jon Rahm  and Ryan Palmer hold up the championship trophy after winning the Zurich Classic, the PGA Tour's only team event, at TPC Louisiana.9 of 35
  • April 21: C.T. Pan poses with the winner's trophy after winning the RBC Heritage at Harbour Town Golf Links in Hilton Head, South Carolina.10 of 35
  • April 14: Tiger Woods celebrates with the green jacket and trophy after winning the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club.11 of 35
  • April 7: Corey Conners celebrates after winning the Valero Texas Open at TPC San Antonio-ATT Oaks Course.12 of 35
  • March 31: Kevin Kisner celebrates after winning the final round of the WGC - Dell Technologies Match Play tournament at Austin Country Club.13 of 35
  • March 31: Graeme McDowell poses with the trophy after winning the Corales Puntacana Resort  Club Championship in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.14 of 35
  • March 24: Paul Casey poses after winning the Valspar Championship for the second consecutive year at Innisbrook Resort.15 of 35
  • March 17: Rory McIlroy celebrate winning the Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass.16 of 35
  • March 10:  Francesco Molinari celebrates his third career PGA Tour win at the 2019 Arnold Palmer Invitational golf tournament at Bay Hill Club  Lodge in Orlando.17 of 35
  • March 3: Keith Mitchell celebrates his first career PGA Tour win the The Honda Classic at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.18 of 35
  • Feb. 24: Dustin Johnson celebrates his 20th career title at the WGC-Mexico Championship in Mexico City.19 of 35
  • Feb. 17: J.B. Holmes poses with the winners trophy after his victory at the Genesis Open at Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, California.20 of 35
  • Feb. 11: Phil Mickelson hoists the trophy on the 18th hole after the conclusion of the final round of the ATT Pebble Beach Pro-Am golf tournament at Pebble Beach Golf Links.21 of 35
  • Feb. 3: Rickie Fowler holds-up the trophy after winning the Waste Management Phoenix Open at the TPC Scottsdale Stadium Course.22 of 35
  • Jan. 27:  Justin Rose poses with the trophy after winning the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines Municipal Golf Course.23 of 35
  • Jan. 20: Adam Long won his first career PGA Tour event at the Desert Classic in La Quinta, Calif.24 of 35
  • Jan. 13: Matt Kuchar poses with the trophy after winning the Sony Open at Waialae Country Club.25 of 35
  • Jan. 6: Xander Schauffele poses with the trophy after winning the Sentry Tournament of Champions golf tournament at Kapalua Resort - The Plantation Course.26 of 35
  • Dec. 9: Patton Kizzire and Brian Harman celebrate their QBE Shootout win with their families at the Tiburon Golf Club.27 of 35
  • Nov. 18: Charles Howell III poses with the trophy after winning the RSM Classic at the Sea Island Golf Club Seaside Course.28 of 35
  • Nov. 11: Matt Kuchar celebrates with wife Sybi and sons Cameron and Carson after winning the Mayakoba Golf Classic at El Camaleon Mayakoba Golf Course.29 of 35
  • Nov. 4: Bryson DeChambeau celebrates after sinking a putt for an eagle during his win at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open golf tournament.30 of 35
  • Oct. 28: Xander Schauffele celebrates with the winner's trophy after the final round of the WGC - HSBC Champions at Sheshan International Golf Club in Shanghai, China.31 of 35
  • Oct. 28: Cameron Champ poses with the trophy after winning the Sanderson Farms Championship at the Country Club of Jackson.32 of 35
  • Oct. 21: Brooks Koepka poses with the trophy after winning the CJ Cup at the Nine Bridges in Jeju, South Korea.33 of 35
  • Oct. 14: Marc Leishman takes a selfie with his trophy after winning the CIMB Classic golf tournament at Tournament Players Club (TPC) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.34 of 35
  • Oct. 7: Kevin Tway poses with his trophy on the 18th green of the Silverado Resort North Course after winning the Safeway Open.35 of 35

Article source: http://rssfeeds.usatoday.com/~/603853128/0/usatodaycomsports-topstories~Nate-Lashleyaposs-inspiring-story-A-plane-crash-and-the-will-to-keep-playing-golf/