DETROIT — Nate Lashley is 18 holes away from being the first Nebraska high school graduate since 1988 to win on the PGA Tour.

Born in Scottsbluff, the 2001 graduate of Mitchell High School shot his second no-bogey round of 9-under 63 at Detroit Golf Club in the new Rocket Mortgage Classic. Lashley takes a six-stroke lead over J.T. Poston into Sunday’s final round (CBS, 2 p.m.).

First place is $1.314 million.

Lashley is at 23-under 193. He birdied the last two holes and had five birdies on the back nine.

“I’ve never experienced anything like this,” Lashley said in a press conference. “You don’t ever expect to shoot 9-under on the PGA Tour, and I’ve done it twice in three days.

“It was just one of those days where really nothing could go wrong. Even when I hit bad shots, I wasn’t really getting in trouble.”

A 5-foot putt was the longest he faced for a par in the superb ball-striking round for the 2005 University of Arizona graduate who was the last man in the field this week.

He stayed in the Detroit area after not getting through Monday’s open qualifying for four spots in the tournament, but he was third on the alternate list. When 2000 Cox Classic champion David Berganio Jr. withdrew on Wednesday, a spot opened for Lashley.

Tom Sieckmann at the 1988 Anheuser-Busch Classic was the last Nebraska high school graduate with a tour win.

A win would put Lashley into the British Open in two weeks, and he would be playing in the Masters next year.

In an Associated Press report, Lashley addressed the continued impact on him of the deaths of his parents and girlfriend in 2004 in a plane crash as they were returning home from watching him play in the NCAA regionals. Rod and Char Lashley and Leslie Hofmeister, all of Scottsbluff, were missing for three days before their bodies and the wreckage were found near the 13,780-foot Gannett Peak in Wyoming.

“Yeah, it definitely crosses your mind,” Lashley said. “It came through my mind at one point today. At some points it’s not easy, but it goes through your mind and it’s something that’s always going to be there for me.”

Another press conference topic was his on-and-off-again career as a real estate agent, maybe an omen with a mortgage company as the tournament’s title sponsor. He sold houses before and after he was winning back-to-back Waterloo Opens in Iowa in 2010 and 2011. He was out of pro golf the next year.

“When I was flipping houses, I thought I was pretty much done with golf,” Lashley recalled. “I always felt like I had the talent and ability to play out here. It was just a matter of getting out here and getting comfortable.”

Lashley gave competitive golf one more try, playing on the PGA Tour Latinoamerica circuit in 2015. By winning three of its tournaments in 2016, he moved up in 2017 to the recently renamed Korn Ferry Tour.

At 35, he debuted on the PGA Tour in 2018, but a sore knee cut short his season after 17 tournaments. While on a minor medical exemption, he played in six Korn Ferry events, missing the cut in Omaha, then came up 20 FedEx Cup points short in his first eight events this season for keeping full-time status.

He tied for 29th at the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, for he had made it through a sectional qualifier in Canada, then was first alternate at last week’s Travelers Championship and didn’t play.

Coming into Detroit, he was 132nd on the FedEx Cup point list and No. 353 in the world rankings. One projection Saturday had him moving up to No. 100 with a win.

If he can shoot 63 for a third time, he’ll set the tour scoring record in relation to par that Ernie Els has held since 2003 at 31-under.

Lashley birdied the first hole Saturday, made three more on the front nine and five on the back nine.

“It was nice to get off to a good start,” he said. “It calmed my nerves, and everything went right. I always had shots. On 17, hitting the pin was huge. The third shot came hot out of the rough.”

On that par-5, the flagstick got in the way and the ball caromed to about 12 feet away. But like almost everything else he had on the greens Saturday, he made the birdie putt.

Poston (66) was second, and Cameron Tringale (65) was another stroke back as one of many players taking advantage of scoring opportunities on one of the easiest courses on the tour.

“I think I had dropped 25 places before I even teed off today, so I knew low scores were out there,” Tringale said. “I just had to keep hitting fairways and greens.”