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Tori Ross' golf career began in the backyard under the watchful eyes of her grandfather.

"He (Bob Ross) taught me how to play," Ross said. "I started playing in middle school, seventh or eighth grade. He showed me how to swing. He's a really good teacher."

Ross learned her lessons well.

She became an elite player at Spring Grove High School and just completed her junior season playing for Limestone College, an NCAA Division II school in South Carolina.

And, oh yes, Ross won the York County Women's Amateur title in her first try.

The 21-year-old defeated Amy Kennedy, 3 and 2, in Wednesday's championship match at Honey Run Golf and Country Club.

Both Ross and Kennedy are members of Hanover Country Club.

Improved putting powers Ross: Kennedy, who owns nine Women's Amateur titles, hung with the younger Ross through the front nine and part of the back nine as the two were even after 11 holes in the match play format.

Ross, though, won three of the next five holes (they halved the other two) to insure that her name would be engraved on the trophy.

Ross clinched the victory by rolling in a five-foot par putt on 16. Kennedy had to a settle for a five on the par-4 hole after her second shot landed in the bunker just to the right of the green.

"I made that putt, and it was one of the best feelings I've ever had," Ross said. "I struggled yesterday with my putting. I had three or four three-putts. I came back last night, and with my grandfather, we worked two or three hours on putting."

In addition to 16, Ross won holes 12 and 13 in her final push.

Ross parred No. 12 (a par-3) before rolling in a five-foot birdie putt on 13 (a par-5).

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Long off the box: Her length off the tee was a huge factor as she captured three of the four par-5 holes. Ross and Kennedy halved the other par-5.

"She hits so long," Kennedy said. "She can hit the par fives in two. Tori's a wonderful golfer, and I needed to play very well to get to 18 with her."

Ross didn't feel she played her best golf.

"I played decent, and I made a few shots that helped me win. It was a huge advantage that I was longer off the tee. It was a case of whether my chipping and putting would help me and it did.

"It feels really good (to win the event). Even since I was little, I heard people talking about it."

— Reach Dick Van O'Linda at sports@yorkdispatch.com

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