Golf

Lashley breezes to 10-shot win

MIAMI, FL - DECEMBER 4: Nathan Lashley hits his putt on the 13th hole during the final round of the Shell Championship at the International Links Melreese Country Club on December 4, 2016 in Miami, Florida.
MIAMI, FL - DECEMBER 4: Nathan Lashley hits his putt on the 13th hole during the final round of the Shell Championship at the International Links Melreese Country Club on December 4, 2016 in Miami, Florida. Getty Images

The winds at International Links Melreese Country Club were breezy on Sunday, so it was only fitting that Nate Lashley won the tournament in a breeze — as in by 10 shots.

If you wanted drama on Sunday in the final round of the PGA Tour’s Shell Latinoamerica Championship, being held in Miami for the first time, it was about as easy to find as a ball you duck hook some 50 yards deep into thick woods.

Lashley, from Scottsdale, Arizona, was more than satisfied with the way he played all week, finishing with a 19-under-par 265 total. Lashley’s four rounds were 69-64-65-67.

In second was Augusto Nunez at 9-under 275.

With an eight-stroke lead entering the final round, Lashley had a game plan in place.

“I was just going in trying to play relaxed,” he said. “Not necessarily cautious … maybe call it smart. I definitely felt comfortable all week.”

Lashley was so comfortable that as he walked down the 18th fairway, he took time to look up and admire the underbelly of a low-flying passenger jet as it left Miami International Airport. That is a common occurrence as International Links abuts the airport, no more than a couple of well-hit drives away.

“The jets were interesting,” Lashley said. “They didn’t bother me.”

Lashley won his third Latinoamerica tournament of the season and took home $31,500, not to mention earning an exemption for all Web.com tournaments in 2017.

He hopes to keep up his torrid play and parlay that exemption into a PGA Tour playing card.

No other player this season won more than one tournament on the Latinoamerica Tour, and Lashley easily claimed the No. 1 ranking for the season that concluded Sunday.

“This week is the best I have played in a long while,” Lashley said. “Better than the other two tournaments I won. This was just a great week. Everything was clicking.”

Not bad for someone who had not played the course before.

At age 33, Lashley knows how difficult making golf’s big leagues, the PGA Tour, can be.

“I’m hoping to continue to get better,” he said. “That’s something you can do if you work at it. The PGA Tour is the goal.”

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