Max Kennedy and Ben James share the spoils in a thriller

Ronan MacNamara

Max Kennedy(Photo by Oisin Keniry/R&A/R&A via Getty Images)

Ronan MacNamara

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Max Kennedy and Ben James played out an Arnold Palmer Cup classic in Lahinch as they halved the 18th hole in birdie fours to share the spoils at All Square.

It turned out to be a better result for the Americans who managed to wrestle back some points late in the day as they won back-to-back Palmer Cups but this was a match that encapsulated the spirit of the entire week.

There was never more than one hole between the pair with three holes halved in birdies while Royal Dublin’s Kennedy was five-under-par during the match with James four-under.

“Yeah, I’m sure that’s not going to be our last battle,” quipped Kennedy who hopes to tee it up with James on tour in the future.

“I played well all week. Today, Ben and I had a really good battle and went head-to-head for the entire day. There wasn’t more than one in it all day, and I think a half was a fair result today.

“It was always tight. All day long. I was kind of hanging on to a one-up lead for a lot of the day. And then Ben made an amazing birdie on 15 into the wind. And you know, we halved the last in birdie, so it’s been a good match.”

Kennedy has produced big moments all week, driving to seven feet on the par-4 13th in the Saturday mixed foursomes, eagling the fourth in his singles match, but as it seemed the USA were wrestling back the momentum late on Sunday, Kennedy produced another big moment to stop the bleeding for the Internationals.

The Dubliner found the long stuff left off the tee and right with his second and after leaving his recovery pitch in position Z on the edge of the green he holed a double breaker from 30-feet for a par that salvaged him a half to keep the match level going up the last.

“I thought it would come out with a draw and came out just dead straight into more rough. And then I didn’t have a whole lot to work with with with the chip shot. And then that putt (30 ft) was pretty cool. I thought I could make it though!

“It’s up there. It had a good three or four feet of break right to left. And it was phenomenal and just dropped in the edge. It was a great putt.”

This was Kennedy’s second Palmer Cup appearance and despite coming out on the wrong side of the result again he thoroughly enjoyed the week where he picked up two and a half points from four matches.

“The whole atmosphere around Lahinch has been unbelievable, couldn’t have asked for a better week and to top it off with a match like that, it’s been amazing.

“It’s been phenomenal. It’s one of the best weeks I’ve ever had especially being here in Ireland and being here in Lahinch, which is probably the home of golf in Ireland.  It’s fun and I couldn’t have asked for a better week.”


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