He may be on the outside looking in, but Max Kennedy has not been afraid to talk up his Walker Cup ambitions this September and with time running out before the Great Britain and Ireland team is announced in August, he has designs on making a summer splash.
Royal Dublin’s Kennedy has enjoyed a stellar 2023 backing up a runner-up finish in January’s South American Amateur Championship with five top-10s and a win Stateside before returning home briefly to pick up the Ulster Strokeplay title in Clandeboye before representing an International team in the Arnold Palmer Cup.
Now he’s looking to carry that form onto the Championship stage and make a late dart for the Walker Cup side in St Andrews – starting with the Amateur Championship at Hillside and Southport & Ainsdale.
“I’ve played two practice rounds and both courses are fantastic. I’m looking forward to playing more links golf this summer,” says Kennedy who can look forward to a tee time with Joachim Larsen Tegner and Rick Hessing on the Hillside course on Monday.
“I’ve been practicing hard in Royal Dublin when I can to prepare for the British AM. It can take a while to readjust back to links even though I grew up on links courses. That’s why I came straight back after regionals before the Palmer Cup so I could get more links practice in to sharpen up because it is something you have to work on for a week or two before you can get back into it so there is a big difference but I feel my game is adjusting in the right way.
“I’ve played the last two years and they are huge events and we all know what’s on the line this year particularly. If you look too far ahead you can get lost and that was me previously it’s probably just to do with not being in that situation but I’ve got used to it now over the last two years so I feel like taking each round at a time is the key.
“I feel that is every GB&I player’s goal to make the Walker Cup team or at least give themselves a chance so doing well this week will certainly help. I’ve never played either course so I am looking forward to the test this week.”
The Louisville student missed out on the East of Ireland Championship and a key Walker Cup selection event in the St Andrews Links Trophy at the Home of Golf while at the Palmer Cup but he plans on getting his bid back on track this week. The omens look good for the Irish at the Amateur with Alex Maguire reaching the semi final and Peter O’Keeffe the quarter final last year while Mark Power is a previous semi-finalist.
“Obviously I would have liked to have played in St Andrews, I haven’t played there before and it would have been nice to have played that because I feel like I have been playing well and I would have liked to keep that run going.
“We are used to playing so many matchplay tournaments back home with the South, North and a couple of other things so we are well used to the format and that’s why we have contended in the British AM over the last few years I think.”