“The dream team is living on! I’m just buzzing”

Ronan MacNamara

Sara Byrne Pic. Brian Arthur

Ronan MacNamara

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The dream team of Max Kennedy and Sara Byrne delivered again as they came from two down after twelve holes to win two up with a rally to help level the Arnold Palmer Cup and tee up a thrilling Sunday singles showdown in Lahinch.

The Internationals rallied from 13-11 down to the USA and levelled the match at 18-18 with Kennedy and Byrne notching a late point in the third to last match to finish as they overcame Ben James and Amanda Sambach.

The pair are two from two as a partnership having won in Friday’s mixed four-ball and they combined again in the mixed foursomes to come out on top.

“The dream team is living on! Absolutely incredible, I’m just buzzing it’s been an amazing week,” smiled Byrne. “Me and Max are just having fun out there we were bouncing off each other. We just said we weren’t going to lose and that’s what we did! All we said all day was we aren’t losing.”

Byrne and Kennedy won the opening hole of their afternoon match with a par but a difficult stretch saw them fall two behind through twelve holes. In need of a spark to gain a foothold in the match and wrestle back the momentum, Kennedy cut a driver into the right to left wind and the ball stopped seven feet away from the flag on the par-4 13th.

They levelled the match on the 14th and a quick turnaround was complete with a winning par on the 15th. They did lose the par-3 16th but were one up going down the last after winning 17 and a two-putt birdie was enough to win via a concession.

“One or two silly mistakes but we battled back and Max hit an amazing shot into 13 and we just kept going from there,”explained Byrne.

“We said we just wanted momentum from anything. He put it to seven feet on 13, and I was like, this is it. We birdied 14 as well; I hit a good drive down there (Kennedy approach to five feet), and we just picked up momentum.

“I think winning 13,14 and 15 was a massive, massive thing for us. And I think that kind of made us a bit more comfortable. (US won 16 with a par) and again, coming down the stretch we just said we weren’t losing. (Won 17 with a great lag putt by Kennedy for winning par).”

Byrne cut a frustrated figure at times during the match, as the pattern of shaving holes that plagued her dug in last week’s Women’s Amateur in Portmarnock continued but she more than played her part on the greens during that crucial stretch on the back nine.

“Yeah. Just I think it was frustrating on the greens more than anything else. I’ve been striking it really great for the last couple of weeks. It’s just seeing the ball go in the hole.

“But honestly, Max has been helping me a lot of confidence wise, trying to get the ball in there. He kind of willed it in today with me. So it was good.”

Byrne will tee off in the Sunday singles against Women’s Amateur champion Melanie Greene.

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