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Masters comeback a huge success: Lyle

MY first tournament back was a huge success. I went to Melbourne having not played much and surprised myself by making the cut.

WELL my first tournament back playing professional golf was a huge success in my eyes. I went down to Melbourne without a lot of playing under my belt, but surprised myself by making the cut. And although the week didn't end the way I would have liked, it was a big step for me as I now know what I need to do in order to move forward.  

The week of the Masters, there was a lot of media attention around me, with cameras capturing my every move. I decided to limit my practice on Monday and Tuesday in order to keep myself as fresh as possible. I used the pro am on Wednesday as my official practice day. As it turned out the weather took a turn for the worse and we were one of only four groups to complete the morning round.

On the Thursday, I was due for a 12.30 tee-off and the emotions started to flow once I arrived at the course. I was surprised at how well I got back into my pre-game routine. I went straight to the putting green to do some work on my speed and the ball was rolling really well. Then I headed to the range to work on my rhythm and everything was coming out of the middle of the club, which is all you can ask for when warming up. Then about 25 minutes before my tee time I walked back to the putting green.

This is when I started welling up.

My wife Briony and I both had tears in our eyes, because this was a huge thing for both of us. She has been such a huge support for me and I wouldn't have been able to get here without her.

And then it was time for the first shot.

Walking onto the tee, I looked into the crowd and saw 30 bright yellow shirts, which brought more tears to the eyes. It was my family and friends who had the shirts made up to show their support.

I managed to pull it together while I waiting to hit, but then my daughter Luis yelled out "Daddy" from the crowd, which made me cry again!

Then I was called up to the tee. I fought back the tears as I placed my the tee in the ground, stood over the ball and then proceeded to smash my hybrid straight down the fairway and into the rough! Then the tears really flowed!

I managed to play very solid, but made a couple of mistakes during the first 12 holes to be three over. I holed a 12-footer on 13 for par, birdied the 14th and 15th holes and finished the round by parring in to shoot a one-over 72. I walked off the course and thought to myself 'what a good round.' It was getting away from me, but I fought hard on the last six holes to end up with a reasonable score and something to build on for the next three days.  

My second round was another battle, after finding myself at two over with eight holes to play, hovering right above the cut line. Again I fought back - birdying two and six, parring 7, 8 and 9 and two-putting on 10 to shoot even par and make the cut by two shots. I did it. I made my first cut in my first tournament in 20 months.

My third round went off like a steam train.  I was three-under after six, then I parred all the way around to 17, before bogying the last two holes. This was the first time during the week where I felt the tiredness beginning to kick in.

Sunday was just a struggle. I went to the bakery in the morning and I knew I was in trouble, because my legs didn't want to move. The lack of golf and walking 72 holes finally came to the surface. I shot 79 on Sunday and plummeted down the leaderboard, but I never thought shooting 79 would be so much fun. I had a ball playing on Sunday and I learnt a lot about what I need to do in order to progress.

My summer will now consist of some golf but mainly a lot of gym work to get myself fitter and stronger for my next tournament - whenever that is going to be.  

During the week of the Masters, 600 Titleist hats were made up in yellow and white with the Challenge logo to commemorate my return to golf. They sold out by Friday afternoon. All the money raised from the sale went to Challenge: supporting kids with cancer. It was a big hit and I heaps of people have asked for one, but sadly there is none left.  

The drive back home on Sunday afternoon was nice. It was just the three of us, no cameras, no media, just our little family. A perfect way to end a very emotional, but successful week.

Jarrod Lyle

Jarrod Lyle is the professional ambassador for the 2013 Golf Link Race to Bonville, which is supporting the Challenge charity, helping relieve the pressure for children and families living with cancer. To make a donation, please visit the Challenge website.


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