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Thomas will gratefully accept any tips

Tatura golfer Joseph Thomas is looking forward to teeing off against Jarrod Lyle today and is ready to take on board any advice the Shepparton-raised professional has for him.

DAMEN FRANCIS April 17, 2014 3:10am

Joseph Thomas is one of three young Greater Shepparton golfers playing a round with Jarrod Lyle at Shepparton Golf Club today.

Tatura golfer Joseph Thomas won’t be turning down any tips from his playing partner today.

Thomas, 14, is one of three young golfers playing a round with Shepparton-raised professional Jarrod Lyle at Shepparton Golf Club.

It is the first of eight rounds in two four-day blocks Lyle will play at his boyhood club in the next two weeks.

The idea is to simulate match conditions and improve his form, as he prepares to return to the US PGA Tour, following a second successful battle with leukemia last year.

Twenty-three golfers will play with Lyle during the two weeks, with young guns Thomas, Kyle Michel and Aiden Bartley in the first batch today.

Thomas said Lyle was an inspirational figure and was keen to make the most of the rare and coveted experience.

‘‘I might ask for some tips after the round, but if he gives me tips I’ll take them for sure,’’ Thomas said.

‘‘I haven’t played with a pro before, so that will be all right, and he’s been there and done it before, so his advice will be good.’’

Thomas took up the sport less than three years ago, after his family moved to Brookwater Crescent, Tatura, which backs onto Hill Top Golf Club.

He practices every day — often with his father, Stuart — and already plays off a handicap of nine.

When asked if Stuart was a good golfer, Thomas said he was ‘‘getting there’’.

‘‘He’s progressing,’’ Thomas said.

The Shepparton High School student is working on improving off the tee and hopes to play off scratch in the next few years.

Playing a round with Lyle can’t hurt that ambition.

‘‘I’ve been practising quite a bit and I’m looking forward to seeing how he plays and handles the golf course,’’ Thomas said.

‘‘I’ve never been to a professional tournament, so just the consistency and the strategies they use, I’m looking forward to seeing that and just meeting him as well.’’

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