Max Kennedy said he is confident about his game as he grabbed a thrilling play-off victory in the Ulster Men’s Amateur Stroke Play Open Championship.
It was another step in the right direction for the Royal Dublin youngster who defeated Jamie Butler (Killeen) on the sixth play-off hole in the sweltering heat of Clandeboye.
In the Women’s event it was a much more straight forward victory for Jessica Ross as the home favourite added a solid third round score of 71 to finish on -9 and ten shots clear of her closest challenger.
But for Kennedy, he had to grind it out, and after a brilliant 68 he forced a play-off with overnight leader Butler when they both finished on -4 after 54 holes. Their duel went all the way to the sixth play-off hole and a par putt was the difference in the end.
“It’s always nice to win but to do it coming from behind is a little bit nicer. Obviously Jamie didn’t have his best today but we fought it off in a play-off. We gave it everything and luckily I came out on top,” said Kennedy.
“It was tiring, especially going up and down those hills in the first couple holes. But we both stayed in there and hit really good shots. I just managed to hole a putt on the last and Jamie just slightly missed.
“My game is in a good position. I can obviously still work on a couple of things but it feels really good and I’m confident going forward.”
There were plenty in contention in the Men’s event as it went into Tuesday’s third round, and Rory Williamson (Holywood) and David Kitt (Athenry) both finished agonisingly short of the play-off on -3.
Ross had a comfortable lead starting her round and with Kate Lanigan (Hermitage) posting a 77 that was only enough for a +1 total and second place. Bridgestone Order of Merit leader Emma Fleming (Elm Park) continued her impressive form too as she finished third on +5.
However, it was the Clandeboye golfer who they all had to catch and three birdies on the way in were enough for Ross to win the title in front of friends and family.
“I’m very happy with the end result. My round was steady all day, maybe a few more bogeys than I would have liked but the birdies helped in the end so I was happy,” said Ross.
“You could argue I used the local knowledge to my advantage but I’m happy with it, it was nice walking down 18 in a comfortable position.
“The members, there has been loads out supporting this week as well so I’m sure they’re all happy to see the golf and the course has been in great condition. It’s been great having it here.”