Nate Lashley enjoying the moment


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Nate Lashley is hoping to stay focused on the job in hand after taking a surprise lead in round one of the Rocket Mortgage Classic.

The 36-year-old, 26.00 to win, is the epitome of a journeyman professional, spending many years on minor tours before finally getting his PGA Tour card in 2018.

His season ended prematurely due to injury but the Arizona resident is able to play on a minor medical exemption and he took full advantage by carding nine birdies in an error-free round to sit on -9 after the first 18 holes in Detroit.

It remains to be seen if Lashley, who was an alternate for the event, can maintain that level right through to Sunday but he hopes to enjoy himself nevertheless. “There’s a long way to go,” he said. “But hopefully I can go out there and play like today, play relaxed golf and have some fun.”

Fellow Americans Ryan Armour (26.00) and Nick Watney (17.00) share second place just a shot back, with scoring excellent in benign conditions, while former Open champion Stewart Cink and last week’s winner Chez Reavie (10.00) are in a group of seven players on seven-under par.

In a field dominated by home talent, Luke Donald is flying the flag for Britain and managed a creditable five-under-par 67 while US Open winner Gary Woodland struggled to a one-over-par 73 and is in real danger of missing the cut in his first tournament since Pebble Beach glory.

Dustin Johnson also struggled on Thursday, ending day one on -1 thanks to two late birdies while Rickie Fowler (15.00) and Bubba Watson (41.00) both sit on -4 with three rounds still to go.

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