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Fine start for Ty Tryon, 16, on PGA Tour

Walking to the 18th green, Tom Lehman tucked his putter under his left arm and joined the gallery in celebration.

They were giving 16-year-old Ty Tryon an ovation he will never forget.

Tryon, a high school sophomore from Orlando, shot a 4-under-par 68 Sunday in the final round of the Honda Classic and finished his first PGA Tour event at 10-under-par.

For his 39th-place finish, Tryon would have made $12,480 for his showing but collected nothing because of his amateur status.

"I can't believe it's over, but at least I had a great round today," Tryon said.

He was off the leaderboard, but he's now on everyone's radar screen.

"If I would have played in a PGA Tour event when I was 16, I wouldn't have broken 80," said Lehman, the 1996 British Open champion who played the final round with Tryon. "I would have been so uptight and nervous and so overwhelmed by the surroundings. I would have been choking my guts out the whole day."

Doing something that even Tiger Woods never accomplished, Tryon made the cut in his first PGA Tour event -- becoming the second youngest player to make the cut in a tour event.

Bob Panasik was 15 years and 8 months old when he made the cut at the 1957 Canadian Open. At 16 years and 9 months old, Tryon had rounds of 67-73-70-68 on the par-72 TPC at Heron Bay.

Woods was nine months younger than Tryon when he was given a sponsor's exemption into the Los Angeles Open in 1992. But he missed the cut with rounds of 72-75.

Tryon was a Monday qualifier for the Honda Classic but won't have to work to make next year's field. After his performance, he was awarded one of the eight sponsor's exemptions next year's even.

Tryon, who trains at the prestigious David Leadbetter Golf Academy, birdied four holes -- including the first two -- on the front nine. Then birdied No. 10 to move to 11 under.

But he missed a 5-foot putt on No. 12 and a 3-foot putt on No. 13 to drop back to 9 under. He birdied the 14th to get back to 10 under.

Then, for the second consecutive day, he played a great shot in front of a packed gallery on No. 18.

Aiming for the tightly tucked pin on the right side of the green, Tryon's approach shot came up short and landed in a hazard. But hitting a wedge from the mud, his chip shot stopped 15 feet from the hole. He calmly drained the downhill putt to save par.

On Saturday, he holed out a 45-footer from a green-side bunker for birdie.

"He has so much poise," said Lehman, whose last putter was older than Tryon. "I was really impressed with the way his swing repeats, how far he hits it and how much confidence he has. He's way, way, way beyond his years. He's really impressive.

"That was a great effort that he put up."

Especially for someone his age.

With the exception of his golf game, Tryon's youthfulness was apparent this week.

He celebrated like no one else on many shots. He was stunned by autograph seekers. His bag -- obviously made for walking -- was the only one in the field Sunday with leg stands on it. It also was about 15 pounds lighter than any of the others, his caddie said.

Ty Tryon pictured at the Junior Ryder Cup. Allsport.

Even though he can't collect the prize money, he may have needed it more than anyone else. "I want a new amp for my car," said Tryon, who would have been guaranteed $6,400 for making the cut. "But it's like $180."

He also was the only player in the field who didn't need a razor. "He bought one recently, but I think it just sits there," said his father, Bill.

Nonetheless, he looked like a seasoned veteran.

"He hit it like anybody I've ever caddied for," said Tim Thalmueller, who normally carries Edward Fryatt's bag but is worked for Tryon this week.

Now Tryon has to go back to playing amateur tournaments.

"I'm sure they'll be jabbing me a little bit," he said.

And he won't get as much support from the gallery.

"It'll look like a wasteland," Tryon said. "I'll see the rest of the course now."

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