For Nate Lashley, playing professional golf was always the end goal, but for the past 12 years, he has been unable to fulfill that dream at the highest level. A few years ago, Lashley decided to give up golf entirely in order to pursue a career in real estate.
It didn’t last long.
“I realized pretty fast that it’s a lot more fun to be playing golf,” Lashley said, shaking off a laugh. “So, I went back to the course and started grinding pretty hard. It’s the competitive aspect that I love and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”
Now 34, Lashley calls himself a late bloomer after securing his place on the PGA Tour in 2018. The top 25 players on the Web.com Tour’s money list are assured a spot on the PGA Tour for the following season.
And thanks to three top-10 finishes and a victory at the Corales Puntacana Resort and Club Championship in May, Lashley has assured himself of a finish inside the top 25.
“Some weeks, when you’re playing well, it can feel like a dream. But in other weeks, it can feel like you’re living in a nightmare,” Lashley said. “That’s the fun thing about golf; some weeks it’s great and in other weeks, you really have to grind it out.”
Lashley, a native of Nebraska, will return to the Midwest to play in the Digital Ally Open July 27-30 at Nicklaus Golf Club at LionsGate in Overland Park.
“Growing up in Nebraska, I have a lot of friends who will be able to come up and watch,” Lashley said Tuesday at a media day for the tournament held at Topgolf. “It’s nice to be back in this area because I love the people in the Midwest, so I look forward to coming to Kansas City each year.”
The Digital Ally Open, which originated in 2015, is organized by the Kansas City Crusaders. The Crusaders have hosted the Kansas City area’s Web.com Tour stop for seven consecutive years.
On Tuesday, Kelly Eddy, the Executive Director of the Kansas City Crusaders, announced two area golfers would be joining Lashley in the tournament as unrestricted exemptions: Former UMKC golfer and touring golf professional Korbin Kuehn and 2017 Big 12 champion Chase Hanna of Kansas.
Hanna won the 2015 Watson Challenge and finished fourth last year and second Sunday. He currently holds amateur status but plans to declare professional status down the road.
“This is an incredible golfer that we are excited to watch,” Eddy said. “We are excited to give him a spot in the tournament and we think he’ll be able to make waves out there and it’ll be exciting for him to get that start at the Digital Ally Open right here in his hometown.”