Lyle makes triumphant return to the US
American Zack Sucher may have won his first Web.com Tour title after closing with a 1-over 72 for a three-stroke victory at the Midwest Classic on Sunday, yet all the attention was on Aussie Jarrod Lyle’s return to competitive golf for the first time since his second bout with cancer.
An infection from an insect bite back in 2012 which Lyle picked up at the Mayakoba Golf Classic a week before the Honda Classic had seen doctors diagnosed a recurrence of leukaemia.
Jarrod Lyle (Credit: Getty Images)
At the time the news devastated the tight-knit player community, as well as Australian golf fans, but Lyle was resilient and focussed on returning to professional golf.
His journey back to the Tour is nothing short of inspiring for all.
In May this year Lyle challenged himself to play as many rounds of golf at his local course – The Sands, Torquay – as he could to test to see if he had the stamina to return to tour after treatment. Nothing was certain, but Lyle was insistent that he would walk the fairways of the PGA Tour again.
Lyle played nine rounds in 20 days, which didn’t really compare to the workload on Tour, but it was the most golf that he’d been able to play since March 2012. Lyle even surprised himself by shooting some good scores, including a 67 and a couple of 68′s.
With the test runs and the worst of the treatment behind him, the 32-year-old Lyle embarked on his next objective, his return to the PGA Tour.
As part of his medical exemption Lyle is able to play five events to get himself back to ‘match fitness’ and after the 2013 Australian Masters and the 2014 Victorian Open, that left just three warm up events in the US before hitting the big league.
Lyle intentionally picked the Web.com Tour to return the competitive golf. Last week this proved the right choice.
He hadn’t made a competitive start in the United States since February 2012 at the 2012 Northern Trust Open where he recorded a career-best T-4 finish.
On Sunday Lyle finished in a tie for 11th at 11-under-par finishing with a 69 after he opened with rounds of 67, 69 and 68. Everyone, including Lyle, were more than pleased with his results.
“It’s amazing to have the support from everybody,” said Lyle following Sunday’s final round.
“I’m very proud of my performance this week. Better than I’d hoped for. Lots of positives.”
Lyle was rightly unashamedly proud of his achievement.
“Everything’s good,” Lyle said. “I’m ecstatic with the way the week has gone. Better than expected.”
Travelling with wife Briony and 2-year-old daughter Lusi, Lyle plans next to play the Price Cutter Charity Championship and News Sentinel Open on the Web.com Tour this month as lead-ins to the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in Las Vegas, Nevada, starting 16 October, which will mark his return to the PGA Tour proper.
Lyle will have 20 starts on the PGA tour next season to earn $US283,825 ($301,465) to fulfil the obligations of his major medical extension and return to the PGA Tour.