Former Gophers standout La’Cassie makes PGA debut

La’Cassie shot three-under-par at the John Deere Classic, good for 62nd place.

Nick Gerhardt

Bronson La’Cassie played in big events in college, but they paled in comparison to the one he participated in last weekend.

La’Cassie, a four time All-American at Minnesota, earned a sponsor’s exemption to participate in the John Deere Classic, a PGA Tour event held at the TPC Deere Run in Silvis, Ill. He finished three-under-par for the tournament placing him in a tie for 62nd place.

Jonathan Byrd won the event with a score of 18 under par. While La’Cassie finished further down the ranks, he accomplished his goal of making the cut in his first event, a rare occurrence for a first-timer.

“(The event) felt bigger than a college tournament, but I tried not to think about it,” La’Cassie said.

The event represents just the beginning of the drive to reach the pro tour for La’Cassie. Those who know La’Cassie say he has the tools to compete on the professional stage.

“Bronson doesn’t get too high or too low on the course,” said Brad James, who coached La’Cassie at Minnesota. “He’s able to keep his emotions intact and that’s a key to be able to go to the next level.”

Former teammates Clayton Rask and Niall Turner described La’Cassie as a laid-back person with an easy-going personality – a quality essential to golf where every shot can be crucial.

As relaxed as he is, what remains clear is his knowledge of his game and how to rate his performance after a round.

“I didn’t do anything special,” La’Cassie said of his debut. “I played average, but I did have a round where I holed a few more putts than usual.”

The round he “holed a few more putts than usual” was his second round 66 – good for five under on the day – catapulting him from 76th place to a tie for 23rd.

Although a reserved individual on the course, Rask said La’Cassie has a strong determination to succeed.

“He’s pretty quiet on the course, and you never really know how his round is going,” Rask said. “But for a quiet guy he really hates losing.”

Rask spent a lot of time on the links with La’Cassie and witnessed “some of the most outrageous shots.” Those shots in La’Cassie’s arsenal will likely help as he looks to secure a tour card in the future.

La’Cassie started his trek to the pro tour a month ago when he competed on the National Golf Association Hooter’s Tour in the Buffalo Run Casino Classic. He finished tied for second at 23-under, just one stroke back from the winner.

He took home more than $13,000 and now sits at number 52 on the money list after one event.

La’Cassie will travel to Mississippi August 6 to play in the Pearl River Resort Golf Classic.

“As long as he keeps his head on his shoulders, he’ll do fine,” Rask said.

La’Cassie said he will continue to play events on the NGA Hooter’s tour until October. Then, he will begin qualifying school in order to receive his PGA tour card.

Last year, 40 golfers joined the PGA tour, and La’Cassie would like to add his name to the list this year. But he understands the challenge ahead.

“Everyone says stay patient,” La’Cassie said. “Keep plugging away and you’ll get there.”