NSW Golf

Dream come true for qualifier Lyras


John Lyras
Sydneysider John Lyras has qualified for his first Emirates Australian Open

A local amateur who barely played any golf through his high school years found his way into the field for the Emirates Australian Open today.

John Lyras, 21, a member of St Michael’s Golf Club and Eastlake Golf Club in inner southern Sydney has witnessed quite a few Australian Opens as a spectator over the years, starting with Craig Parry’s 2007 triumph. But from Thursday he will be teeing it up with the big boys after he shot a three-under par 68 to lead the qualifiers at Ryde-Parramatta today, one of an astonishing nine amateurs to take the last 10 spots in the field today from official qualifying at Ryde, Carnarvon and Liverpool golf clubs.

The 2013 Victorian amateur champion Zach Murray was one to get through at Carnarvon, along with the former Victorian boys’ champion Konrad Ciupek. At Liverpool, Western Australians Haydn Barron and Kiran Day squeezed through.

Lyras missed six years of golf in his formative years because he was required to play compulsory school sports for the exclusive Cranbrook School, in Rose Bay. With golf out of the question, he chose cricket and tried to sneak in a round of golf on the odd Sunday with his father, but he quickly returned to regular golf once he completed his Higher School Certificate studies in 2014.

“Hopefully have a good solid week out there, really good to experience my first proper professional tournament and enjoy it as much as I can,’’ he said today. “But at the same time, I want to play well. That’s why I’m playing the game. I’m really excited. There’s not really a better course that I’d prefer to play in Sydney for an Aussie Open, I’ve just got to get my head around the fact that I’ve qualified for the Aussie Open and try to play my best golf come Thursday.’’

Lyras works part-time at a golf store in the Sydney suburb of Alexandria, and is full-thrust into golf now. Over the winter, he took himself to the United Kingdom to play some amateur events, coming home with the knowledge that he had improving to do.  “I went to Europe in July to England to try to see where my game was really at and I really think that I’ve found something to work on. Came back from that trip really invigorated by how much better I needed to get and since then I’ve had some good results in amateur golf. I’m kind of ticking off some boxes of what my goals are. To qualify for an Australian Open, it doesn’t get much better than that for an Australian.’’

Cricket has gone well and truly on to the backburner for Lyras. “I wanted to play golf my whole life,’’ he said. “I just wasn’t able to play golf during my high school years. That’s probably not a bad thing. I’ve been able to put golf first in front of everything since I finished in 2014. It’s nice to see my progression, how fast it’s been. Golf was always in the back of my mind, it’s always what I wanted to do. As much cricket as I played during school and as much as I loved it, I still always wanted to play golf. It’s really nice to see the fruits of labour come to fruition really.’’

In his first-ever professional tournament, last year’s New South Wales Open, he suffered a devastating blow when having shot four-under in the first round, he was disqualified for signing an incorrect scorecard. “Unfortunately, stuff like that happens,’’ he recalled today. “I shot four-under, there was a little incident in the middle of the round and we waited to get it checked out after the round. I was just stupid enough not to check the rest of the card. There was another error on the front nine that we missed, and unfortunately that happens. That’s bad luck.

“That’s what golf’s all about. You’ve got to be really strong, when you’re bashed against the wall you’ve got to get up and keep moving, take it on the chin.’’


Carnarvon (Par 72)

  1. AUS - Zach Murray (Am) - 67
  2. AUS – Konrad Ciupek (Am) - 68
  3. AUS - Patrick Joseph - 69
  4. AUS - Luke Park (Am) - 69


Ryde Parramatta (Par 71)

  1. AUS - John Lyras (Am) – 68
  2. AUS - Michael Lambert (Am) - 69
  3. AUS - Nathan Barbieri (Am) - 70


Liverpool (Par 72)

  1. AUS - Haydn Barron (Am) - 68
  2. AUS - Kiran Day (Am) - 69
  3. AUS - Jay Mackenzie (Am) - 70 (Playoff)



  1. NZL - Luke Brown (Am)
  2. AUS – Harrison Endycott
  3. AUS – Andrew Richards (Am)


Full scores available at: http://www.golf.org.au/qualifying#/competition/1217202/leaderboard

22 February 2019
AVONDALE: Men: Stableford White: A: M Rotsey (12) 44. B: H Liu (15) 37. C: C Heazlewood (31) 38. A Scr: R Wallace 39. more
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