Perfect records for the Irish on day one as the Internationals take a slender lead

Mark McGowan

Sara Byrne (Photo: Arnold Palmer Cup)

Mark McGowan

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The Internationals are off to an excellent start in the Arnold Palmer Cup at Lahinch, thanks in no small measure to the four Irish stars who went unbeaten on day one to help their side to 6.5-5.5 lead.

Douglas’ Sara Byrne (23) and Royal Dublin’s Max Kennedy (22) were paired in match number seven and put the American pairing of Jackson Klutznick and Farah O’Keefe to the sword, while Maynooth duo Kate Lanigan and Ryan Griffin went out in the anchor match on day one and secured a 2UP victory over world number five Zoe Campos and seventh-ranked David Ford.

“We started off really good and never really let the guard down,” said Kennedy, who made his Arnold Palmer Cup debut at Laurel Valley in Pennsylvania in 2023.

“We were probably 10-under combined, which will win a lot of golf matches, especially out here when it’s windy.”

Hitting the front on the third hole, they never trailed and the highlight of the round was arguably Byrne’s hole-out eagle from distance on the seventh hole which put the duo four in front and it was a blow that the Americans never recovered from.

“I was so excited to play,” said Byrne, who was the leading amateur at the 2023 KPMG Women’s Irish Open and looks near-certain to be a Curtis Cup participant in September. “That’s what’s been ingrained in us for the week, ‘No fear – just be excited for it’ and that’s what we did.”

Griffin and Lanigan won the opening two holes before being pegged back on five and six, but got their noses in front again on the eighth and had built a 3UP lead with three to play.

Ultimately, Griffin was forced to make an eight-footer for birdie on the final hole which secured hole and match, and sees the Internationals take a slender one-point advantage into Saturday where the action will turn to foursomes in the morning session, followed by Mixed foursomes in the afternoon.


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