WASHINGTON (AFP) – Nate Lashley, the last player to make the field, fired a nine-under par 63 to seize a six-stroke lead after Saturday’s third round of the US PGA Rocket Mortgage Classic.
The 36-year-old American, ranked 353rd in the world, turned in a bogey-free round – the lowest score of the day – to stand on 23-under 193 after 54 holes at Detroit Golf Club with compatriot J.T. Poston second on 199.
‘‘It was just one of those days when it seemed like nothing could go wrong,’’ Lashley said. ‘‘Everything went right. Even when I didn’t hit good shots, it went all right.’’
Both Lashley and Poston are in position to capture the two available spots from this week’s event for next month’s British Open at Royal Portrush.
Cameron Tringale was third on 200 with 2018 Masters champion Patrick Reed another stroke back after both shot 65 Saturday.
It would be an amazing long-sought victory, and in wire-to-wire fashion, for Lashley, who has had to overcome tragedy in his career. When he was a junior at the University of Arizona, his parents and girlfriend died in a plane crash while flying home from watching him play in a tournament.
After a knee injury cut short his 2018 PGA debut season, Lashley is playing on a secondary exemption after starting the season on a medical extension, his 2019-20 season status uncertain.
No alternate has won a PGA title since Vaughn Taylor at Pebble Beach in 2016, but no player shooting 193 or better for 54 holes has lost this season, Rickie Fowler winning in Phoenix and Matt Kuchar winning at Mayakoba and the Sony Open in Hawaii.