DILLSBURG — The Women's York County Amateur Golf Association championship trophy has taken up residency at Amy Kennedy's home in Abbottstown so frequently over the last decade that it's basically become part of her home's decor.
On Thursday, she made sure that it would spend another year in her loving home.
Playing in her 11th WYCAGA final on Thursday, Kennedy defeated her friend, Maggie Ryan, 7&6, at Range End Golf Club to capture her seventh Championship Flight trophy, moving her into second all-time. She's 24 tournament titles behind 31-time winner Connie Shorb, who didn't play in this year's event.
Kennedy, who made her first Championship Flight final back in 2005, gave Ryan, who was making her first Championship Flight final appearance, little time to get comfortable. Kennedy raced out to a quick four-up lead through the first four holes by playing 1-under golf through that stretch, winning each hole.
"I actually just started out hitting each shot through the first four holes, I was right on it," Kennedy said. "I had 10 feet for birdie on No. 1. No. 2, I didn't necessarily have a great look, but I tapped in for par. No. 3, I had 15 feet for birdie, which I made, and No. 4, I had 15 feet uphill for birdie. So, when you hit the fairway and you hit the green, it's a little bit easier."
After giving a hole back at No. 5, courtesy of a great birdie make by Ryan, Kennedy continued to roll with a par at No. 7 to regain her four-hole lead and then won No. 9 to take a five-hole advantage to the back nine.
With the match well in hand, it wasn't so much whether or not Kennedy would repeat as champion, but how many holes it would take her to do so.
She won holes 10 and 11 to get her advantage to seven holes with seven to play, otherwise known as dormie in match play. Ryan had to win the seven remaining holes just to force a playoff, but when both players halved the par-4 12th with bogeys, the match ended with some more laughs, a hug and another championship under Kennedy's belt.
"She's such a good player," Ryan said of Kennedy. "To play with somebody with that much skill — there's talent, but mostly she works very hard at it — you get out there and you get to play with someone who you know works at it and it's just a joy. Yes, I wanted my shots to be better and give her a little bit more of a fight, but then again, I catch myself watching her and learning."
Because of the way Kennedy opened the match with four straight holes won, it forced Ryan out of her element and into taking more risks. That's primarily where her birdie on No. 5 came from, by taking an aggressive line at a pin protected by two green-side bunkers, but pulling it off and rolling in a 10-foot putt to slow down the Kennedy Express.
"The worst I could do is lose one more hole," Ryan said. "And so, I'm just going to slow this down. This train is going, I'm not going to stop it. But, I could slow it down a little bit and lengthen the fun."
Having fun: There certainly was no shortage of fun being had between the two friends.
Despite it being a championship match and the score one-sided, the two were constantly laughing and smiling during the round. Kennedy and Ryan have a relatively new, but extensive, history of playing with and against each other at Hanover Country Club. Both players are members there — Kennedy is also a member at The Country Club of York — and have done battle in the Hanover club championship. The camaraderie came in handy during the match to keep it fun and relaxed over the 12 holes of play.
"It's certainly a lot more fun," Kennedy said. "We both do want to play well, but playing well is yourself playing well, so whatever your opponent is doing doesn't have any bearing on how your opponent plays."
"She's delightful," Kennedy said about Ryan. "If you don't have fun with Maggie, something's wrong with you. She's a nice, proper-spirited person."
other WYCAGA results
Championship Flight consolation final: Susi Guinn (HCC) def. Anna Baldini (VG), 2 up.
First Flight final: Tracey Knouse (GV) def. Carolyn Karge (RE), 4&2.
First Flight consolation final: Lynn Fiery (HCC) def. Karen Myers (HR), 4&2.
Second Flight final: Kerri Bacha (ODCC) def. Carol Enders (VG), 1 up.
Second Flight consolation final: Tracy Board (CCY) def. Sue Joiner (CC), 1 up.
Third Flight final: Monica Weaver (HR) def. Annye Reiersen (RE), 3&2.
Third Flight consolation final: Colleen Dickinson (RE) def. Shirley Thornton (CCY), 6&5.
— Reach Patrick Strohecker at email@example.com.