Bowditch second, Lyle shines at Frys.com
The best Australian fightback story this year on the PGA Tour belongs to Jarrod Lyle who finished tied for 31st at the Frys.Com Championship last Sunday on his return to the PGA Tour after successfully battling leukaemia for a second time.
Lyle had to Monday qualify for the tournament, shooting a 66 and earning his place after an eight-way playoff. It was the first time he had made it through to the final two days of a PGA Tour event since February 2012.
Jarrod Lyle (Credit: Getty Images)
“To come here without a tournament to play, and then get through on the Monday (qualifier) and make the cut and play reasonable golf for four days, I couldn’t ask for anything better,” Lyle said.
For Lyle making the cut was an important milestone towards returning to competitive golf following an extended layoff period due to sickness.
Lyle’s 2012 leukaemia diagnosis came as his wife was due to give birth to their daughter. He no longer receives any treatment except for a penicillin tablet he takes once a day for the rest of his life.
“Just playing golf is a success. To get four rounds in was pretty special. It’s something that I can go away now and assess this weekend then just build on it from now.”
“I’ve made two cuts in the last two-and-a-half years, so it’s been a long time to feel that pressure, but I think I handled it pretty well.”
The 33-year-old Victorian now heads to northern California to Las Vegas for his next tournament, where he has a sponsor’s exemption into the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open starting on Thursday in Nevada.
Lyle was granted a Tour medical exemption which allows him to play 20 US PGA Tour events. His aim is to earn about $US285,000 which will earn his PGA Tour card once again. Lyle’s finish on Sunday earned him $33,300 in his the season’s opener and puts him in good stead for the road ahead.
Starting the final round eight shots from the lead, Steven Bowditch carded a five-under-par back nine of 31 to record a closing five-under 67 and threaten for a second US tour title.
Bowditch would go on to finish in runner-up position after overnight leader Bae Sang-Moon of South Korea, ranked 197th in the world, was able to hang on to win by two shots to claim his second PGA Tour victory at 15-under despite closing with a final round 73, which included four bogeys in seven holes.
Bowditch, who scored a breakthrough victory at the Texas Open in March, had three birdies in his back nine, including the 18th, plus an eagle three at the 16th.
Australian veteran Robert Allenby is also off to solid start after some difficult years, finishing tied for eighth at 11-under.
Cameron Percy, Aaron Baddeley, Stuart Appleby and Marc Leishman all made the weekend to bank a cheque in the season opener.