The Rocket Mortgage Classic took the city of Detroit by storm as more than one hundred thousand fans came out to witness the first-ever PGA TOUR®event held within the city limits. As golf’s biggest stars descended upon the historic Detroit Golf Club, it was the underdog’s weekend to shine as Nate Lashley claimed his first career victory.
Jumping out to an early lead in the opening round, Lashley never looked back as he held on for the wire-to-wire victory and storybook finish. Lashley, the last alternate to make the field claiming the 156thand final spot, lit up the scoreboard of the par 72 course by posting rounds of 63, 67, 63 and closing out with a 70 to finish the tournament at 25 strokes under par. Runner-up Doc Redman finished 6 strokes back at 19-under par.
The victory was a fairytale ending to Lashley’s incredible story of perseverance and redemption. Hoisting the trophy at the inaugural Rocket Mortgage Classic capped a long journey for the 36 year old from Nebraska, who had experienced the loss of his parents and girlfriend in a plane accident as a college athlete, once quit golf to try his hand at real estate and then returning to the game by grinding his way through the minor league circuits.
In addition to Lashley, player upon player raved about the setup and electric environment at the course all week. The more than 100-year-old Donald Ross-designed course produced 1,895 birdies making it fun for golfers and fans alike. Each day, tens of thousands of fans poured through the gates of the beautiful Detroit Golf Club to catch the action and get a taste of professional golf for the first time in the city.
Adding to the excitement and large crowds, the Rocket Mortgage Classic provided a week’s worth of events for fans that started well before the four-day tournament commenced on Thursday. Activities included a 5K Walk/Run along the Detroit RiverWalk, a Kids Clinic and the Area 313 Challenge which paired Rickie Fowler, Dustin Johnson and Bubba Watson with celebrities such as Kid Rock, Barry Sanders, Tom Izzo and Dylan Larkin.
The players and fans weren’t the only ones that won big throughout the week. In addition to creating a world-class golf event, the Rocket Mortgage Classic set out to be a difference maker in the community.
In the months leading into the tournament, the event organizers partnered with several local nonprofit organizations including the Detroit Children’s Fund, Midnight Golf, The First Tee of Greater Detroit, the Greater Palmer Park Community and Detroit Golf Club Caddie Scholarship. All proceeds from the event will be redistributed to these local nonprofit partners to help them continue driving long-term positive impact in the city.
Furthermore, Rocket Mortgage continued its military appreciation theme by honoring those that previously or currently are serving our country. Notably, this weekend featured the return of the Rocket Mortgage Shot for Heroes challenge, which gave fans a chance to take their swing at a 60-yard target. More than 3,000 fans participated throughout the weekend, which helped raised for Community Solutions and it’s Built for Zero initiative to help them in their mission to end veteran homelessness in Detroit and across the country. In total, Shot for Heroes has raised more than $1.2 million for various veteran-related charities over the last five years.
In the months leading into the event, the organizers of the Rocket Mortgage Classic laid out a plan and expectation to be the best tournament on the PGA TOUR as well as the can’t-miss sporting and social event of the year in Detroit. They certainly followed through on their pledge, delivering an event that was reflective of the host city.
The PGA TOUR will return to Detroit next summer for the 2020 Rocket Mortgage Classic.
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