About 20 months ago Jarrod Lyle, an Australian pro of considerable physical size and commensurate ability, was told that the leukemia he had battled to a draw as a teenager had returned. Given the fact that historically a second bout with leukemia has a much lower chance of success, it had to seem to him very unlikely that he would ever play a professional golf tournament again.
Yet yesterday, standing on the first tee of the storied Royal Melbourne Golf Club for the first round of the Talisker Australian Masters he heard those cherished words, “From Victoria, please welcome back Jarrod Lyle”. To Jarrod and the throngs of supporters who poured out for his homecoming return to professional golf it brought tears of joy to their eyes…….this is the feel good golf story of the year.
As you can read in Matt Murnane’s account in the Sydney Morning Herald Jarrod Lyle’s begins a new journey in his fight to regain his career after his successful second round of treatment has once again put his leukemia in check.
The pictures in the article say it all, his wife and young daughter and hundreds of others wearing the supportive yellow of the Challenge cancer network. They had come to provide a cloud of support for a local golf hero, playing the course he holds dearer than any other, in one of the big three events on the Australian golf calendar.
His opening par-birdie start was as much a release of pent up emotion than golf skill but it set in his mind that he was back where he belonged. The golf gods did not issue him any free passes though. On the ninth hole he pulled his drive and his Titleist wedged itself into the fork of a tree down the left side of the fairway. “I think it was the same tree we were under in the Heineken (Classic in 2005, when he came to prominence),” said his father John Lyle. “He knows that spot well.”
Showing the grit he is known for with a resurgence on the back side Jarrod shot a one-over-par 72 and has positioned himself to meet his goal of making the halfway cut after tonight’s second round.
You can follow his progress as the Talisker Australian Masters is being broadcast live on the Golf Channel late this evening. Great coverage with a cast of Australian announcers handling the duties with full Aussie jargon. Ian Baker Finch is on the crew and is by far the most understandable accent in the booth. Go figure!
Needless to say half a country and plenty of interested bystanders around the world are pulling for him to do just that.
Round 2 Update: Jarrod Lyle shot even par today to make the halfway cut at one-over. Those yellow Challenge Hats will be sold out for the weekend. Great Stuff!!
Round 3 Update: Lyle had three birdies and two bogies on his way to a one-under 70 and and even par standing through three rounds. He is currently 29th and positioned will for a top 25 finish with a sub par round on Sunday.
Final Round Update: Rough day for Jarrod starting off double bogey, bogey, and other in the first four holes. He did make three birdies on the way to 79 and and T-57 finish. Great to make a check….great to see him back.
Sydney Morning Herald