Withdrawal hands Lashley his sliding door moment
It’s been a couple of weeks now since Nate Lashley’s emotional victory at the Rocket Mortgage Classic but the stories just coming. We now know just how lucky the 36-year-old was to even be in the field….let alone win the tournament.
David Berganio Jr had no way of knowing how much he was helping Nate Lashley when he decided to withdraw from the $7.3 million PGA Tour event in Detroit, Michigan.
Nate Lashley celebrates his victory that almost didn’t happen (Credit: PGA Tour)
He had been playing on a medical exemption and when his clubs didn’t turn up in time for him to have a practise round, he decided he would wait for another day to use up one of his few remaining exemptions.
Enter Lashley, who missed out on Monday qualifying, but decided he’s stick around just in case he was lucky enough to gain a late start.
The rest comes together for one of the true feel-good stories of the year.
Lashley opened with a 63 and never took his foot off the throttle as he went on to score a six-shot win.
Berganio had no idea of a connection between the two until his phone began backing up with at least 100 messages from people thanking him for playing a small role in Lashley’s victory.
He also had no idea that both were Arizona Wildcats – and Lashley had been a junior at Arizona when his parents and his girlfriend had died in a plane crash on their way home to Nebraska after watching him play in an NCAA regional in 2004.
Lashley turned pro but had found it a massive struggle.
He even took a break from golf and turned his hand to real estate for a while before starting a slow climb through five tours over the next 10 years until making it onto the PGA Tour as a 34-year-old rookie in 2017.
Lashley’s sister, Brooke, flew in from Phoenix, while a bunch of friends and family from Arizona and Nebraska, arrived to share an emotional moment that also gave him a two-year PGA Tour exemption, not to mention spots in three major championships, including The Masters.
“I’m just thankful I got in the tournament,” Lashley said.
As for Berganio? Well, he never felt so happy for not being able to play and amazed that his withdrawal could so change someone’s life.