Nate Lashley leads Rocket Mortgage Classic as Gary Woodland struggles
Last Updated: 28/06/19 4:18pm
Nate Lashley claimed a surprise one-shot lead after the first round of the inaugural Rocket Mortgage Classic by shooting a nine-under 63 at Detroit Golf Club.
The 36-year-old American left US Open winner Gary Woodland trailing in his wake with a flawless round containing nine birdies as he made the most of excellent scoring conditions for the morning starters.
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After finishing with five birdies over the last six holes, Lashley, who has only one top-10 finish to his name on the PGA Tour, led by two for most of the day until Ryan Armour and Nick Watney closed the gap with 64s late in the afternoon.
World No 353 Lashley only got his chance in the tournament as first reserve after David Berganio withdrew on Wednesday.
Chez Reavie, last week's Travelers Championship winner, continued his fine form with a 65, which included an eagle at the par-five 17th, to be part of a seven-man group in a tie for fourth.
Charles Howell III, Talor Gooch, Stewart Cink, Rory Sabbatini, Adam Schenk and Chase Wright are also just two off the lead.
England's Luke Donald birdied the final two holes for a 67 as he made a promising start, while Rickie Fowler kicked off with a 68, the highlight a 'slam-dunk' eagle at the 17th where he holed his third shot from 122 yards.
World No 2 Dustin Johnson produced a mixed bag as he opened with a one-under 71, with his card blighted by double-bogeys at the fifth and 11th before he finished on an upward curve with birdies at the 14th, 17th and 18th.
Woodland, making his first appearance since winning at Pebble Beach, birdied the same three holes, as well as the 13th, and he certainly needed that strong finish for a one-over 73 as his recent busy off-course schedule appeared to be taking its toll with six bogeys and just one birdie over the first 11 holes.