Challenges in life are inevitable. How a person responds to those challenges speaks volumes about that individual. In that regard, Nate Lashley stands out.
In May of 2004, at the NCAA West Regional, Nate had just completed an excellent final round capped by a forty-foot birdie putt which helped his team, the University of Arizona, move on to the NCAA Championships. His parents, Rod and Charlene, and girlfriend, Leslie, were there to embrace and congratulate Nate before flying home to Nebraska while Nate traveled back with the team to Arizona. The plane that Nate's dad was piloting, however, encountered stormy weather in Wyoming and crashed atop a mountainside. After an all-out search and rescue effort in difficult snowy conditions, the worst was confirmed: Nate lost his parents and girlfriend in the tragic accident.
In an instant, Nate's life changed forever; he lost his girlfriend and the two people who were the most instrumental in shaping him as a person and golfer. Nate's parents introduced him to the game and attended almost all of his events in support of their son. Now with them suddenly gone, Nate had to find the strength and resolve to carry on. There was speculation as to whether Nate would return for his senior year. Given what he had gone through, most would understand if he walked away.
Not only did Nate return, he had his best season and led the University of Arizona back to the NCAA Championships. In recognition of his fine year, Nate was bestowed with many honors including selection as an All-American. Following his stellar collegiate career, Nate turned pro and took on the formidable and daunting challenge of Q-school an annual event that professional golfers loathe yet must endure to make it to the PGA Tour or Nationwide Tour.
More than 1,100 professional golfers began the first stage of the 2005 PGA Tour Qualifying School with the hopes of advancing to the all important third and final stage where a player is guaranteed status on either the PGA Tour or Nationwide Tour. To accomplish this feat, a player must battle through two difficult tournament stages, competing with himself, the golf course and other professional golfers. Out of more than 1,100 participants, only 165 players made it to final stage. Nate Lashley was one of those players.
Of the 165 contestants, only five were young men who had competed at the collegiate level a few months prior. Many such men entered Q-school in the hopes of making it to the PGA Tour or Nationwide Tour but only five, including Nate, made it to final stage. Such an impressive feat is but one more testament to a fine young man who has had to survive not only the pressures of professional golf but of life's adversities as well.
Nate's future as a professional golfer has always been bright as shown by his outstanding collegiate career and noteworthy rookie campaign on the Nationwide Tour. However, Nate's ability to overcome some of the most difficult circumstances possible makes him shine. After the sudden loss of both parents, Nate returned to school to finish his degree and help his team move on to the NCAA Championship. Nate then advanced through all three stages of Q-school to become a member of the Nationwide Tour. All of this was done to make his parents proud of what he accomplished both on and off the golf course. In remembrance of his parents, Nate strives to be the best person and professional golfer he can be.