Sandy Lyle ‘encouraged’ to come back to Masters next year

Sandy Lyle waves on the second hole during the second round of the Masters. Picture: Getty Images
Sandy Lyle waves on the second hole during the second round of the Masters. Picture: Getty Images
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Thirty years after making birdie from it to become the first British player to win the Masters, Sandy Lyle found the same fairway bunker at the 18th in the second round.

From a more difficult spot at the back of it, the 60-year-old couldn’t get to the green on this occasion but holed a six-foot downhill par putt to a pin position close to where it was on that historic day back in 1988.

Having covered the last six holes in a gutsy three-under following birdies at the 13th, 15th and 16th, Lyle has been given sufficient encouragement to make a 38th visit to Augusta National in 12 months’ time.

“At 60 years old, it’s not that easy to stay fresh and hit the driver a long way up hills, keep it straight and all that kind of thing,” the two-time major winner told The Scotsman after agonisingly missing the cut by a shot on six-over following a 76. “But it was pretty good. It was promising. It gives me encouragement for next year to try to come back.”

Lyle, the sole Scot in this year’s event, took as much satisfaction from making his par from the bunker that will forever be linked with him after producing a majestic 7-iron in 1988.

“It was a downhill lie, so it wasn’t that easy,” he said of his latest effort. “I had to crunch an 8‑iron, hitting it 6-iron or even 5-iron height, with a draw. I thought it was perfect, landing it about a yard short of the green but it just couldn’t go forward at all.

“I holed a six-footer, though, and a six-footer at 17 as well and a 20‑footer at 16, so a strong finish.”