Jarrod Lyle was the feelgood story of the Australian Masters, but he wasn’t feeling so good on Sunday.
The Victorian achieved his aim of completing all four rounds at Royal Melbourne, in his comeback event after 20 months off the professional golf circuit fighting leukaemia for the second time.
For the first time, he was able to end a tournament by hugging daughter Lusi, who was born last March in the few hours between Lyle being diagnosed and beginning treatment.
But the aching in his legs and lack of sharpness in his mind as he played the final round confirmed his belief that a fulltime return remains a long time away.
Lyle started the day on even par, but shot an eight-over-par 79 on Sunday to be near the tail of the field who made the cut.
He had realised on Saturday it would be tough.
“The last nine holes yesterday I could really feel I was struggling,” he said.
“I went for a walk this morning to get some bread and I thought ‘I’m in a fair bit of strife.’
“We got around though – obviously not the ending you’d want for the week but I played four days.”
Despite the finish, Lyle said overall his comeback event exceeded expectations.
He has a medical exemption to return to the US PGA Tour when he feels ready, but that remains a long way off and he has no plans to play another tournament soon.
His immediate priority is to rest, although he must first play a pro-am at his local club, Torquay Sands, on Monday, when he will at least get to use a golf cart.
The next step will be plotted after he consults his doctor in December for more blood tests and immunisations.
“I don’t know what’s in store. There’s still some health things that we need to keep a bit of a close eye on,” he said.
“I don’t think my doctor’s that keen on me travelling anywhere too far away.
“We’ve just got to wait and see how that pans out.”