Tearful return for Lyle; Cullen leads 2013 Australian Masters

Nick Cullen and Adam Scott take  a back seat to the return of Jarrod Lyle to tournament golf.

Jarrod Lyle returned to tournament golf at Royal Melbourne today after. It was 20-months ago when Lyle was informed he had a second bout with leukaemia on his hands.

The 32-year-old from Shepperton in Victoria had just recorded his career-best finish on the PGA Tour with a fourth place at the Northern Trust Open in February 2012 when he flew back to Australia to be diagnosed with leukaemia for a second time.

Lyle’s first battle with the disease meant that he may not be able to have children but in an ironic twist of fate, his daughter was born just hours before he underwent chemotherapy.

Lyle was given the ‘all-clear’ by doctors in June this year and both Lyle’s wife and daughter were at Royal Melbourne yesterday to see his return to tournament golf. Tears rolled down Lyle’s face as he was greeted by a big gallery at the first tee. He somehow managed to hold himself together to hit a drive and make a regulation par at the first.

It was nice to get out there and see everybody that I love standing around the tee and even people I have never met before. The crowd on the first tee was something I was not expecting,” said Lyle.

“I hit that first tee shot with tears all through my eyes. I was happy when I saw it going in the air down the fairway.”

Lyle’s approach to the par-5 second was spectacular and he looked right at home again. He held his round together with birdies at 14 and 15 posting a very respectable 1-over par 72.

Understandably Adam Scott was not the big story of the first round at the Australian Masters, but his 4-under par 67 positions him nicely to win consecutive Australian golf tournaments and defend his Masters gold jacket.

Top spot on the leaderboard went to South Australia’s Nick Cullen. Twin brother of former Australian test cricket Dan Cullen, Nick’s round included six birdies and a spectacular pitch-in at the 11th for eagle to give him a two-stroke lead at the end of day one.

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