Carris Trophy: Kennedy aiming high after summer of learning

Frank Kennedy spends most of the year living in Jupiter, Florida.

It’s appropriate then that the 14-year-old spends the hours practising to try and get to the point where his game is on another planet.

This week, Kennedy is one of 132 hopefuls at Broadstone Golf Club in Dorset trying to win the last of this season’s England Golf Championships – the Carris Trophy.

The young English golfer has high hopes for the future and has enjoyed a steep learning curve this summer having returned from America to play in key men’s events.

Kennedy – whose English base is Prestbury in Cheshire – was the youngest competitor at the English Men’s Amateur Championship at Woodhall Spa and missed the 36-hole cut by one shot.

Last week he was the youngest in the field at the Brabazon Trophy – and again was bitterly disappointed to miss the final two round by just two shots.

But this week he’s looking to use lessons learned from both those championships to compete with his peers at the English Under 18 Boys’ Amateur Stroke Play.

“The goal is to win this week. Play some solid rounds and see where it takes me,” he admitted.

“It’s been good playing the men’s events and I just needed to finish better.

“I’ve made a few silly mistakes that are down mainly to course management.

“If I miss tight fairways and hit it in the longer stuff, sometimes I just have to take a bogey and don’t be aggressive.

“Being aggressive cost me more than bogeys.

“I was relaxed and pretty chilled going into English Am and Brab – it was just those silly mistakes that cost me the cut in both of them.”

Kennedy got into the game aged seven encouraged by dad Simon and now only has eye for a career in the sport. His drive is undeniable and he has a long-held dream.

“To be the greatest I can be and make number one in the world,” he confirmed.

Yet he’s already played with a world number one and witnessed at close-hand the skills of a man who is one of the modern greats.

“I live 20 minutes from West Palm Beach in Jupiter,” added Kennedy.

“I’ve played a few rounds with Ernie Els at the course where I play.

“He’s always practising and one day I asked if he wanted a game!

“It was a pretty decent nine-hole match – but he won by 2.”

The 2019 winner of the Carris, Yorkshire’s Ben Schmidt, is unable to defend his title this week because of a date clash with the Amateur Championship at Royal Birkdale.

However, a number of other England squad members are in the field including Max Hopkins, Remy Miller, Oscar Doran and Hertfordshire’s Jack Bigham (pictured above).

All four played in the English Men’s Am and Brabazon and Bigham is hoping to end a disrupted season on a high.

“Last week at the Brab I played well, I missed the cut by one after playing in the worst of the weather,” said Bigham.

“I feel my game is in good shape to challenge this week.”

Bigham’s debut year in the England set-up has not gone to plan because of Covid-19, but he’s hopeful of better times ahead.

“It will be weird going from one of the youngest to oldest next year, but I’m looking forward to getting the chance to play for England in team events.”

The Carris Trophy will involve golfers playing 18 holes of stroke play on each of the opening two days with the top 40 and ties making the final 36 holes which will be played on Thursday.

Previous winners of the event include Callum Shinkwin (2010), Tom Lewis (2009), Justin Rose (1995), David Gilford (1981), Sandy Lyle (1975) and Ken Brown (1974).

Photography: Leaderboard