EGU: Portuguese Men’s International Amateur

HUGE WIN: Frank Kennedy gets his hands on the Portuguese International Amateur trophy

Record-breaking victory for 16-year-old sensation Frank Kennedy

EGA: Tuesday, February 15th

FORMAT: 72-hole strokeplay

There was a staggering performance from Florida-based English teenager Frank Kennedy at the Portuguese International Amateur Championship where the 16-year-old broke the course record and took the title with a record-low score.

Kennedy, who was one of 17 Englishmen in the field at the Montado resort, led all the way, fighting off the challenge of German duo Finn Koelle and Carl Siemens to win the biggest championship of career so far by four shots on Saturday.

Kennedy was three clear going into the final round after a stunning eight-under-par 64, a score he should have matched on the opening day. His joy at playing so well for a first round 65 was compounded by him missing a one-foot par putt on the last.

The Trump Jupiter player, who is also a member at Prestbury (Cheshire) and Trentham (Staffs), has long promised something special but paid tribute to his back-room team for making another step up. Last August he became the youngest ever Brit to make the cut at a European Tour event. At the Hero Open, held at Fairmont St Andrews, the then 15-year-old recorded rounds of 72, 71, 73 and 68 to finish joint 63rd. Sergio Garcia remains the youngest ever European player to have made it through to the weekend having been two months younger back in 1995. 

Kennedy said: “I’ve been working hard most of the winter over in Jupiter and had great support from my three main coaches – Rob Watts (England Coach) Jim McLean and Brad Faxon.

“The key factors in last six months are length – I’m now carrying it just over 300 yards – my iron play has sharpened up but probably the biggest factor is my putting. I’m holing more clutch putts and been doing a lot of work with Brad Faxon on the mental side of this.”

Click here to watch footage of Frank Kennedy hitting a mid iron 

Frank Kennedy, who has added significant yards to his tee shots over the winter while working hard in Florida with his coaches

Despite getting to 18 under par after 54 holes, the young Englishman found himself in a battle with his two German playing partners on the final day.

Siemens made a blistering start and was five under thru eight holes while Koelle and Kennedy were both three under at the same stage.

However there was considerable drama at the tough par four ninth where Siemens could only muster a triple bogey while Koelle struggled to a six. The leader, who had managed eight out of eight greens in regulationto this point, was faced with a tough up and down but pulled off a brilliant flop shot to get the ball to eight feet and rolled in the putt for a par.

It gave him the breathing space and, despite bogeys on the 11th and 18th, he stayed well in the clear.

Earlier in the week Kennedy’s opening 65 had put him two shots clear of the field. He birdied 14, 15 and 16 and then eagled 17th before that extraordinary missed putt on the last saw him drop back to seven under.

At halfway he was just one clear of Koelle, Siemens and French player Paul Beauvy before speadeagling the field during the penultimate round. He reeled off a bogey-free 64 and was 17/18 in terms of GIR. 

He rounded things off with a one-under-par 71 for a stunning aggregate score of 269 while Essex ace Arron Edwards-Hill moved up into third on the back of a closing 69. 

GB scores (par 72)
1) Frank Kennedy (Trump Jupiter, ENG) 65, 69, 64, 71, 269 (-19)
3) Arron Edwards-HIll (Chelmsford, ENG) 70, 67, 70, 69, 275 (-13)
7) Mason Essam (Dartford, ENG) 68, 70, 71, 69, 278 (-10)
9) Olly Huggins (Frilford Heath, ENG) 72, 66, 69, 71, 278 (-10)
17) Jack Bigham (Harpenden, ENG) 74, 65, 74, 69, 282 (-6)
42) Ben Quinney (Kings Hill, ENG) 74, 74, 69, 72, 289 (+1)
Missed The 54-hole cut:
Jack Cope (The Players Club, ENG) 76, NS
Louis Sanders (Copt Heath, ENG) 77, 74, NR
Connor Graham (Blairgowrie, SCO) 75, 72, 72
George Ash (Hallowes, ENG) 73, 73, 73
Harvey Byers (Walton Heath, ENG) 70, 74, 75
Jack Brooks (The Mere, ENG) 72, 73, 75
Jamie Mann (Close House, SCO) 74, 73, 74
George Mason (Wath, ENG) 76, 69, 77
Joe Harvey (The Kendleshire, ENG) 78, 71, 75
Ben Quick (Beaconsfield, ENG) 75, 74, 76
Tom Matthews (Oswestry, WAL) 78, 70, 78
Josh Berry (Doncaster, ENG) 81, 76, 73
Andrew Benson (West Lothian, SCO) 76, 77, 77
Zach Little (West Herts, ENG) 81, 78, 77
For all the scores click here