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Last year, even in victory, Amy Kennedy wasn't pleased with how she played in the Women's York County Amateur Golf Association championship.

This year, however, with the result the same, but her play much improved, she's much more content with the win.

Kennedy secured her ninth WYCAGA championship on Thursday morning at Cool Creek Golf Club, defeating longtime friend Connie Shorb in the match-play event, 2&1, to take the championship flight title. The win is Kennedy's fourth in a row and fifth in the last six years.

"I feel like I actually played pretty good, with the exception of my driver on the front nine was not very good at all," Kennedy said. "The first eight holes it was horrible. Like really horrible, but with the exception of the driver, I thought I played pretty good."

Kennedy and Shorb are the two dominant players annually in the event, winners of now 40 combined titles. So, it was only fitting that the two put on another strong showing in this year's championship match.

After Kennedy won three holes to Shorb's one on the front nine to carry a 2-up lead to the back nine, things began to heat up between the two Country Club of York members.

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The 10th and 11th holes were halved with bogeys, but then Shorb started making her move. A chip-in eagle on the par-5 12th got her to within one and then a birdie on the par-3 14th squared the match with four holes to play.

"Honestly, I wasn't even thinking about the status of the match all day," Shorb said. "I was just trying to hit some good shots. I told Amy, I was just happy to make it past 15 because I had been playing crappy the last three years. I'll hit a couple good shots and then I'll turn around and give them right back."

Even with momentum on her side, Shorb couldn't close out Kennedy.

And it wasn't even that Shorb was hitting poor shots that cost her the win. It were the good ones in tight situations by Kennedy that won her the match.

After both players missed the green on the par-3 15th, Kennedy hit a terrific chip shot to within a few feet and made par to go 1 up in the match and then was conceded a par putt on 16 to see her 2-up advantage back intact. 

Needing just a halve on one of the final two holes to secure the win, Kennedy was given a bit of a gift by Shorb on the par-5 17th. 

With Kennedy facing about a five-foot putt up the hill for par, Shorb had a chance to extend the match with a six-foot birdie attempt. The putt was a slippery one, with a lot of left to right break down the hill and Shorb just missed it high. Kennedy proceeded to roll in her par attempt to halve the hole and close out the match.

"Obviously, she had to make par on those holes, too," Shorb said about Kennedy's closing holes. "She hit a good chip on the par-3 (15th) and you have to hang in there. If someone is going to give you a present, you still have to be in position to take it."

It's the second consecutive year that Kennedy bested Shorb, 2&1, winning on the 17th hole last year at Out Door Country Club.

Shorb did open the match by winning the first hole, but Kennedy squared things on the front side with a big birdie make on the par-3 fifth. Kennedy then won back-to-back holes on No. 8 and No. 9, including a birdie on the par-5 eighth, to grab momentum going to the back nine.

With the victory, Kennedy now needs just 22 more victories in the event to match Shorb's mark. Of course, that also hinges on Shorb not winning anymore, herself, which she's proven she can still contend with her play.

"No, that's not happening," Kennedy joked.

Other results: In the championship flight consolation match, Kristie Hamp (Regents' Glen C.C.) defeated Carolyn Karge (Range End G.C.), 5&4.

In the first flight championship match, Jocelyn Abel (Bon Air C.C.) defeated Lynn Fiery (Hanover C.C.), 5&4. And in the first flight consolation match, Betty Winner (Bon Air C.C.) needed 19 holes to defeat Sue Joiner (Cool Creek G.C.), 1 up.

— Reach Patrick Strohecker at pstrohecker@yorkdispatch.com

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