Lyras out-duels Smylie to win Townsville Classic - PGA of Australia

Lyras out-duels Smylie to win Townsville Classic

Sydney’s John Lyras has got the better of Elvis Smylie in an epic back-nine duel to claim the $50,000 Lexus Townsville Classic at Townsville Golf Club.

A day after breaking the course record with a round of 10-under 61, it took just three holes for Lyras move past Smylie and take the outright lead for the first time all week.

Two holes later that advantage pushed out to two before the pair separated themselves from the field with a brilliant display of top-class golf.

Starting from the par-4 ninth, Lyas made seven birdies in the space of eight holes as Smylie endeavoured to keep pace with five straight birdies of his own from the short par-4 10th.

When Lyras birdied the par-5 16th he held a four-stroke lead, Smylie’s birdie at 17 and Lyras’s bogey on the final hole reducing the final margin of victory to two shots.

Five-over through four holes on Thursday, Lyras played his next 50 holes in 23-under par, backing up Friday’s 61 with a 9-under-62 for an 18-under par winning total, his first official win on the adidas PGA Pro-Am Series.

“When I made the birdie on 16, that was the first time I felt comfortable,” said Lyras.

“Elvis pushed all the way. We played incredible golf on the back nine. I think we both reeled off five birdies straight at one point.

“It was good to see we holed a couple of putts on top of each other on the back nine too, and a couple of incredible up and downs.

“It was really high quality golf and honestly, every time I’ve played with Elvis, it’s been high quality golf.

“He is a super kid and he’s an incredible player with an incredible personality and mindset about the game, too.”

As other players fought against the wind that buffeted the twisting Townsville layout, Lyras decided to ride with it.

It is a skill he has honed playing alongside the likes of Travis Smyth, Stephanie Kyriacou and Harrison Crowe at St Michael’s Golf Club in Sydney’s east, a skill he believes brings out his best.

“The wind opens up a bit more of a creative mind in me,” said Lyras, who has five top-five finishes on the Challenger PGA Tour of Australasia.

“It’s been a really incredible development to my game and opened a lot of doors for a bit more of a creative and artistic mindset about the game.

“Really trying to zone in on a shot and picture it a little bit more than maybe some of the guys can. I know for me, I struggle seeing straight shots, so with wind there it kind of helps me a little bit.”

Smylie had to settle for second with a round of 6-under 65 and 16-under total, four shots clear of James Mee (65) with Blaike Perkins (68) and Andrew Campbell (70) rounding out the top five.

Although he finished well down the leaderboard, Michael Dean left with one of the tournament highlights, making a hole-in-one at the par-3 second hole.

Playing 144 metres, Dean used the disappointment of a bogey on the opening hole to muscle an 8-iron that finished in the bottom of the cup.

“Hole two played a little into the wind so I hit 8 a little harder with a little draw,” Dean said.

“The wind pushed it back onto the hole and it one-hopped and in.”

Final scores and prize money

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