16 Feb 2022 | Professional golf |
Martin to draw on Lyle 'good vibes' at TPS Murray River
by PGA of Australia
By Tony Webeck
Bendigo native Andrew Martin will draw on the “good vibes” of his Cobram connection with Jarrod Lyle as he seeks to win The Players Series Murray River tournament named in his late friend’s honour.
The first of two new tournaments in this season’s Webex Players Series, TPS Murray River has drawn a stellar field of men and women to Cobram-Barooga Golf Club for an event that carries extra significance for the way it will honour Lyle’s legacy.
Lyle was weeks away from his 37th birthday when he passed in August 2018 and will be honoured this week with fund-raising initiatives for Challenge, people who knew Jarrod from various parts of his life will be engaged throughout tournament week and Saturday’s third round at Cobram-Barooga’s Old Course will be bathed in a sea of yellow.
Three years Lyle’s junior, Martin’s formative years were spent at Neangar Park Golf Club near Bendigo, just 90 minutes from Lyle’s home-town of Shepparton.
Their paths would cross in local amateur tournaments and they would earn selection in Victorian Golf Association representative squads, Lyle in the Senior team and Martin a member of the Colts squad.
Part of the preparation for Interstate Series campaigns involved training camps at the site of this week’s TPS Murray River tournament, Cobram-Barooga Golf Club on the mighty Murray River, where Martin was exposed to the gregarious and infectious personality that would endear Lyle to the golf fraternity the world over.
“One of the first camps I went away with the Victorian team was with the Colts squad to Cobram,” recalls Martin.
“Jarrod was in the Senior team and I was in the Colts squad. Those camps we did for the lead-up to the Interstate Series with Marc Leishman and Andrew Tampion, they were a lot of fun.
“It was always good fun with those boys. There was never a dull moment.
“‘J Lo’ was a little bit older than me so he was at that level that I was wanting to get to.
“To go back to Cobram and his name being on the tournament, hopefully I can call on some of those good vibes and memories from the time we spent together.
“Jarrod probably played a lot of golf at Cobram coming through and we played a similar style of golf so it would be nice to win the trophy that is in memory of Jarrod.”
Given the proximity of their upbringings in regional Victoria, the likelihood of Martin and Lyle meeting in the 2004 Australian Amateur Final at Royal Adelaide Golf Club (pictured) was unlikely at best.
Not only had they come from humble beginnings but both were on the comeback trail, Martin from a rare wrist injury that required surgery and the insertion of a metal plate and seven screws and Lyle from his first bout with acute myeloid leukaemia as a teenager.
Martin would birdie the final four holes of the 36-hole final to edge Lyle 2&1, that experience now a treasured memory of facing off against a fierce competitor and the respect the pair shared as they began their professional golf careers.
“Maybe it was a country thing in that we admired each other and were very supportive,” Martin says.
“At the Aussie Amateur I was coming back from a wrist injury at the time and then obviously what Jarrod went through was a lot worse but we both had that sense of coming back from something.
“He was just a likeable guy. A good, fun larrikin but he was also very competitive.
“I can’t remember how many ‘gimmes’ there were that day but he was very fair. We’re still there to win. He was good to have a chat to on the way around but if we didn’t give something we both understood why.
“Jarrod’s parents, John and Sal, would come up to me after and we had a couple of beers together afterwards before heading off.
“To share 36 holes with him will always be very special. Two country boys playing the biggest amateur event in Australia.”
As for the yellow ensemble Martin has planned for Saturday should he progress past the first two rounds, the 37-year-old believes it speaks to the essence of who Jarrod Lyle was as a person.
“It’s hard to find yellow shirts these days,” adds Martin.
“I tried to get this Hawaiian one but I got the wrong size so I got one on Monday which is more floral but it’s got the bright yellow flower on it.
“It’s nice and bright, exactly how Jarrod made the people around him feel.”
Round 3: Saturday (Fox Sports 503 2:30pm – 5:30pm) Round 4: Sunday (Fox Sports 503 12:30pm – 5:30pm) *AEDT, check local guides
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