That’s what winning the 2019 Rocket Mortgage Classic meant to champion Nate Lashley, who went wire-to-wire to win his maiden title on the PGA Tour.
Lashley, 37, was a late-blooming rookie battling to regain his card when he entered the tournament field a year ago as the last man in when David Berganio Jr., withdrew due to injury. All Lashley did was shoot a pair of sizzling 9-under 63’s on Thursday and Saturday at Detroit Golf Club en route to posting 25 under and lapping the field by six strokes.
“It was one of those weeks that just, you know, nothing could go wrong even on bad shots,” Lashley said.
The perks didn’t stop with a seven-figure check and a two-year exemption on Tour. Suddenly, Lashley was in the Masters, the Sentry Tournament of Champions in Hawaii and aboard a float at Detroit’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
“They asked me to come out and ride on it,” Lashley recalled. “I hit some little foam golf balls out into the stands and into the groups of people. It was a lot of fun. It was a little chilly. I’m used to Arizona and Thanksgiving Day, nice and warm, you can go play some golf. It was a little chilly and it was great. I had a lot of fun and I would do it again in a heartbeat.”
Lashley was planning to play his first practice round at Augusta National following the Players Championship in March when the event was canceled due to the global pandemic and the Masters was postponed to the fall. He still can’t wait to experience driving down Magnolia Lane and playing Amen Corner.
“I was there a couple of years ago and saw the fans and heard the roars,” he said. “There’s nothing else like it.”
Lashley spent the Tour’s 91-day suspension from play at home in Arizona and hardly touched a club. He figured he played about four rounds, choosing to let his body rest.
“I’m not one of these 20-year-old kids who can play every day,” Lashley said. “Rest can sometimes be your best practice.”
He did compete in the Scottsdale Open, where he was listed as the betting favorite, which gave him feedback on the state of the game and got the competitive juices flowing again. Mostly, Lashley did projects on his new house, including buying an above-ground planter garden at Home Depot.
“We were pretty bored. It kept us busy for a few days,” he said.
In that new house, he has a gym and it came with a built-in bookshelf, which he deemed the perfect spot to showcase his Rocket Mortgage Classic trophy.