10 Feb 2021 | Professional golf |

Lyras on top, thanks to Dad's wisdom

by PGA of Australia

John Lyras Moonah image
John Lyras tees off on his way to a 67 today. Photo: Australasian PGA Tour

The guiding hand of his father and a PGA Tour reality check has positioned Sydney’s John Lyras to push for a breakthrough professional win when the Moonah Links PGA Classic concludes at Moonah Links on Thursday. The possibility of border closures has prompted ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia officials to play the final two rounds on Thursday, with groups of two to play in a cart, the third round to commence at 7.15am and the final round at 11.45am AEDT. It means Lyras will only have to sleep on the lead for one more night after following up his six-under 66 in the first round with a composed and patient five-under 67 on Wednesday to be 11 under at the halfway mark. The 24-year-old is three shots clear of a group of five players at eight under, Justin Warren (69), James Marchesani (67), Maverick Antcliff (69), Peter Wilson (65) and Ryan McCarthy (67) all in position to make a charge over the final 36 holes. Wilson’s seven-under 65 made the greatest impression on the leaderboard late on Wednesday but the round of the day belonged to NT PGA champion Aaron Pike, the Queenslander firing off four birdies in succession from the second hole and closing with an eagle to bounce back from a 76 on day one with a 64 to be tied for 25th. A birdie on his opening hole settled whatever nerves Lyras may have felt being in the unfamiliar position of tournament front-runner and from that point he set about picking off opportunities as they presented themselves. "Just had to stay really patient and let the golf course come to me and let the scoring opportunities come when they did,” said Lyras, who only two weeks ago made his first cut as a professional at The Players Series Victoria. "I feel like if I can play the par 5s well and birdie three or four of them and maybe hit a couple in tight and then you roll in a bomb, there’s seven birdies in a round of golf. As long as you can keep the bad stuff off the card, generally you can put a pretty good score together and around Moonah Links I think that works quite well." When he qualified to play in the 2019 Wyndham Championship on the US PGA TOUR Lyras made the snap decision to turn professional and was issued a stark reminder of what it would take to one day be successful. "I was hitting balls between Jordan Spieth and Sungjae Im before round two,” Lyras recalled. “It was amazing to me how perfectly Jordan strikes his wedges and how perfectly struck the ball-flight and trajectory was with Sungjae and his driver. It just showed to me that I still had work to do, that I still have a long way to go before I can reach that level.” In addition to his swing coach John Serhan and mental performance coach John Novak, Lyras believes it is the patient approach of his father Peter that has given him the foundation to handle whatever the game throws at him. “We have a lot of really great conversations about our golf,” said Lyras. “I’ve got a really great team around me but at the end of the day Dad’s probably the most important of all. The things he’s taught me are finally rubbing off a bit. Hopefully I can do him proud over the next two days.”

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