What began as a three-month adventure testing himself against amateur golf’s toughest competition has turned into a life-changer for John Lyras.
The 22-year-old from St Michaels’ Golf Club has pulled off the almost unthinkable to qualify for this week’s Wyndham Championship on the PGA Tour.
And Lyras got there the hard way, surviving two qualifying rounds ( Thursday and Monday) – and a three-for-two playoff, which included a clutch save in overtime.
“I got up and down from over the green to go through,” he beamed.
Lyras gave himself a sniff of a chance at qualifying last week after carding a tidy three under 69 in North Carolina to advance to Monday’s traditional Pre-Q Day.
With 55 players vying for four spots, Lyras did the remarkable, carding a four-under-par round to make the playoff for the final two spots. It was all he needed, and with a four-foot putt to seal his place, the rest, as they say, is history.
Lyras qualification for the PGA tour may have surprised more than a few followers of the sport, but it didn’t come as a surprise to the man himself.
“Not at all,” the ever-confident Lyras replied when asked if he was surprised himself.
Although a first in many ways for the Sydneysider, after previously qualifying for an NSW and an Aussie Open as an amateur, Lyras has some idea what to expect this week.
“It feels different out here; everyone is so invested in the tournament.
“After the wounds I’ve endured in the game, it has given me a thicker skin.
but it really is an honour to be out here competing on the best tour in the world,” he added.
Pre-qualifying was one of Lyras last stops before he was due to head home on August 21st after chasing the US amateur circuit over the northern summer. He’s hopeful a good result in the Wyndham Championship will mean an extension to his US stay.
“It’s been a difficult trip to the US, but if there were ever a time to pull out my A-game, it would be nice to do it now.”
Lyras has also decided now is the right time to leave his amateur days behind and join the pro ranks.
“This is a dream come true,
“The last five years in golf have been an incredible journey,” he smiled.