Rocket Mortgage Classic 2019: Nate Lashley Holds 6-Stroke Lead Entering Round 4June 29, 2019
Moving day at the 2019 Rocket Mortgage Classic was defined by birdies.
Nate Lashley left the green at Detroit Golf Club in Michigan with a commanding six-shot lead after shooting nine under par in Saturday's third round. The 36-year-old knocked in nine birdies to improve his overall tournament score to 23 under.
Patrick Reed also drained nine birdies to move 17 spots up the leaderboard into fourth place. The 2018 Masters champion might have drawn even closer to Lashley if not for two bogeys.
Instead, he will begin Sunday's final round behind J.T. Poston and Cameron Tringale, respectively.
Keeping with the theme: Poston was good for seven birdies, while Tringale hit eight.
1. Lashley (-23)
2. Poston (-17)
3. Tringale (-16)
4. Reed (-15)
T5. Doc Redman (-14)
T5. Wes Roach (-14)
T5. Rory Sabbatini (-14)
T5. Peter Malnati (-14)
T9. Brian Stuard (-13)
T9. Sungjae Im (-13)
View the full tournament leaderboard at PGATour.com
The day's biggest mover was Brandt Snedeker, who bumped up 42 spots into a tie for 16th at 12 under. Brian Stuard was put in an even better situation in a tie for ninth at 13 under by moving up 35 slots.
Cameron Champ moved in the opposite direction. The 24-year-old began the day in second behind Lashley and ended it tied for 25th. Despite starting the third round with a 356-yard drive on the fourth hole, Champ shot three over par. Things started to take a turn in the wrong direction at No. 5, where he double-bogeyed.
Rickie Fowler stumbled out of contention, too, as he fell victim to three bogeys—all three of which came after the 30-year-old birdied No. 10 to come within three shots of the lead. Fowler enters Sunday in a tie for 39th.
The story Sunday will continue to be Lashley, however, who has not won a PGA Tour event in 14 tries. His lone top-10 result came when he tied for eighth in February's Puerto Rico Open.
Lashley initially failed to make the field in Monday qualifying, but eventually got in midweek as the third alternate and final man in the 156-player field, per PGA Tour Communications. Now, he's in position to go wire-to-wire.
On top of that, a win would earn the No. 353 player in the Official World Golf Ranking an exemption into next month's British Open and his tour card for the next two seasons.
Should Lashley falter in the final round, Reed feels confident he can claim his first tournament since the 2018 Masters.
"It was about time, honestly," Reed said of his third round, according to the Detroit Free Press' Greg Levinsky. "I felt like I've been hitting the ball really well."
"I love being creative and having to work the ball around," he added. "A place like this just kind of suits me."
As Reed is the only major champion remaining in contention, his experience could come in handy.