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Dan Baker, PGA, takes you on a tour of Bridgewater's 9-hole golf course, and its clubhouse. Jana Benscoter, 717-505-5438/@jbenz51

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A familiar contender will be missing, but a new contender has emerged heading into the 2018 Women’s York County Amateur Golf Association championship.

Connie Shorb, whose name has become synonymous with York County women’s golf over the decades, will not compete in this year’s event because of family issues. Shorb has won the Women’s York County Amateur championship a record 31 times.

Normally, Shorb’s absence would make Amy Kennedy the overwhelming favorite in the event, which is set for Tuesday and Wednesday, June 19-20, at Honey Run Golf Club.

After all, Kennedy has won nine Women’s York County Amateur crowns of her own, including four in a row and five of the last six. Kennedy beat Shorb in last year’s championship final at Cool Creek Golf Club, 2&1. The year before at Out Door Country Club, Kennedy again edged Shorb in the title match, 2&1.

This year, however, there’s new young star competing in the Women’s York County Amateur and she has been given the top seed, ahead of Kennedy. The seeds are based on each player’s United States Golf Association handicap index.

Ross making debut: Former Spring Grove High School standout Tori Ross is making her first appearance in the Women’s York County Amateur as the No. 1 seed in the field.

“This is one of the tournaments that I have been wanting to play in ever since I started playing golf,” said Ross, who has a 0.9 handicap index.

Ross said she didn’t compete in the Women’s York County Amateur in previous years because she wasn’t a member of one of the golf courses that belongs to the WYCAGA.

“I worked at the Hanover Country Club for the last six or seven years, and over those years, I have realized that I wanted to become a member of this club because of the members and the beautiful golf course. I have met so many wonderful people at the Hanover Country Club. I knew this is the place that I wanted to represent when I play in all of my tournaments this summer. Therefore, I ended up becoming a junior member of the country club this year.”

College standout: Ross will be a senior next year at Limestone College in Gaffney, South Carolina. The Saints play at the NCAA Division II level. She plans to compete in as many amateur events as she can this summer to prepare for her senior campaign with the Saints. This summer, she's also the assistant tour director of the York County Junior Golf Association.

The 2015 Spring Grove graduate has shown steady improvement during her Limestone career, going from an 81.86 average as a freshman to a team-best 76.90 average as a junior. During this past season, Ross was the Conference Carolinas Golfer of the Year.

At Spring Grove, Ross was a three-time York-Adams League girls’ golf champion and a District 3 runner-up as a senior.

Of course, there’s no guarantee that Kennedy (who has a 2.7 handicap) and Ross will face off in Wednesday’s final.

Jocelyn Abel (7.7 handicap) is the No. 4 seed and will face Ross in the semifinals on Tuesday. The other semifinal will pit Kennedy vs. No. 3 seed Louise Gebhart (7.6 handicap). 

New format: The tournament has a new, two-day format this season. Previously, it was a three-day event and each flight had eight players, with match play starting in the quarterfinal round. This year, there are four players in each flight and match play begins with the semifinals.

Tournament director Tracey Knouse said it was hoped that having the tournament reduced to two days might attract more golfers because there would be less of a time commitment, especially for players who work.

This year’s tournament will feature six flights.

Reach Steve Heiser at sheiser@yorkdispatch.com.

WOMEN'S YORK COUNTY AMATEUR

Tuesday's First-Round Pairings

Championship Flight

(1) Tori Ross (HCC) vs. (4) Jocelyn Abel (HCC), 8:48 a.m.

(2) Amy Kennedy (CCY) vs. (3) Louise Gebhart (HCC), 8:56 a.m.

First Flight

(1) Paula Bauer (RE) vs. (4) Tracy Faulk (BA), 9:04 a.m.

(2) Kristie Hamp (RG) vs. (3) Susi Guinn (HCC), 9:12 a.m.

Second Flight

(1) Mary Bobst (ODCC) vs. (4) Nancy Gross (ODCC), 9:20 a.m.

(2) Lynn Newcomer (ODCC) vs. (3) Lynn Fiery (HCC), 9:28 a.m.

Third Flight

(1) Beth Pietrini (HR) vs. (4) Kelly Pflaum (CC), 9:36 a.m.

(2) Maggie Ryan (HCC) vs. (3) Tracey Knouse (HR), 9:44 a.m.

Fourth Flight

(1) JoAnn Dietz (CC) vs. (4) Kelly Farrell (RE), 9:52 a.m.

(2) Elizabeth Carson (HCC) vs. (3) Donna Ensor (HCC), 10 a.m.

Fifth Flight

(1) Betsy Barrett (HR) vs. (4) Dawn Cox (HCC), 10:08 a.m.

(2) Sue Joiner (CC) vs. (3) Clair Daywalt (RE), 10:16 a.m.

Sixth Flight

Threesome, Betty Winner (BA), Marsha Stough (HR), Kim Lutes (RE), 10:24 a.m.

Key: BA, Bon Air Country Club; CCY, Country Club of York; CC, Cool Creek; HCC, Hanover Country Club; HR, Honey Run; RE, Range End; RG, Regents' Glen; ODCC, Out Door Country Club.

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