Kennedy last appeared in The Open in 2012 and will be 47 when he tees off in it again, having topped the Tour of Australasia Order of Merit following a dramatic victory in January’s TPS Victoria, his sixth title on the circuit.
His third-round 62 included an albatross and, after 18-year-old amateur Elvis Smylie closed with a 63, Kennedy eagled the 16th and struck a seven-iron to three feet on the last for a birdie that denied the youngster a play-off.
Victory was a second in succession for Kennedy on the tour, albeit the previous win came last March – prior to a COVID-19 enforced break in the schedule - when he took the New Zealand Open for a second time with a final-day 63.
He is also a three-time winner in Japan, capturing the 2013 Gateway to The Open Mizuno Open, the following season’s Kansai Open and the 2018 Shiego Nagashima Invitational Sega Sammy Cup.
Kennedy, who also played the last Open at Royal St George’s in 2011, has recorded three runner-up finishes on the European Tour. He was second in the Malaysian Open in 2003 and 2004, as well as the 2004 Madeira Island Open when he started with a 10-under 62.