It was a history-making and dramatic weekend for York County golf.
For the first time ever, the York County Amateur and Women's York County Amateur championships were held on the same weekend at the same course, with both 36-hole events organized and operated by the York County Amateur Golf Association.
As luck would have it, both the men’s and women’s titles needed some extra play to determine a winner.
Amy Kennedy, who won nine Women’s York County Amateur titles when the event used a match-play format, bested last year’s champ, Tori Ross, in a six-hole playoff. Both golfers finished regulation with identical 9-over-par, 153 totals at the Out Door Country Club.
On the men’s side, 2007 champ Bob Ruby was unable to fend off a terrific performance Sunday by former Central York High School standout Joe Parrini. Trailing by six strokes heading into the final day, Parrini shot a 4-under 68 to tie Ruby.
After Ruby failed to close out a victory on the first hole of a playoff, Parrini made a short birdie putt on the second playoff hole to earn his first-ever York County Amateur crown. Both had finished with 4-under 140 totals.
“I noticed that the conditions were tough,” Parrini said of the difference between play Saturday and Sunday. “The wind was blowing a lot and the greens firmed out a bit and I knew that kind of played to my advantage. I have a lot of course knowledge here and I know how to manage myself around this course.”
Ruby, who entered the day two strokes behind first-day leader Michael Robinson (who opened with a 6-under 66), was solid throughout Sunday’s action. The Royal Manchester golfer was playing in the foursome behind Parrini’s group, so he was not always aware of the University of Arizona golfer’s position.
“When I was on 16, someone told me that two guys ahead of me were at 4-under,” Ruby said. “And I was at 4-under then. And I made a birdie to get to 5-under, but then I hit what I thought was a good shot on 17, but I hit it over the green and had no chance to par there. So I bogeyed 17 and finished with a par on 18 to get into the playoff.”
Playing Parrini wasn’t the only difficult aspect of the playoff for Ruby. The course was treacherous.
“The course was a lot harder today that it was Saturday,” said Ruby, who opened with a 4-under 68 before shooting 72 on Sunday. “With all of the wind, the tees probably played like 500 yards longer.”
Playing on No. 9 to begin the playoff, Ruby had about a six-footer that would have won the title on the spot after Parrini missed a similar putt at a similar distance. Both settled for par on that hole, which forced them to make the short trek to No. 1 for a second hole.
Ruby again overshot the green with his second shot. Parrini, however, placed a perfect pitching wedge shot to within four feet of the cup. Moments later Parrini was celebrating his title with his posse of ex-high school teammates.
“John Giambalvo, Russell McPaul, Andrew Forjan and Will Gekas were all great and very supportive,” Parrini said. “Andrew and Will also played in the tournament today and I played with them in high school so it was great.”
Cool Creek's John Weber finished one shot out of the playoff at 141, while defending champ Brett Berkheimer finished two shots back at 142. Bobby Stiffler and Robinson tied for fifth at 144.
Kennedy survives six-hole playoff marathon: Kenndy, meanwhile, was excited to utilize her "secret weapon" on Sunday — 31-time Women’s York County Amateur champ Connie Shorb.
“Connie and I are dear friends and she was very sweet to jump in the cart and caddie for me,” Kennedy said. “We’ve played together and against one another for many years so she knows my game better than anyone else. She was the secret to my success today.”
After scoring a bogey on the first hole, Kennedy motioned for Shorb to help her out. With Shorb by her side, Kennedy made a birdie on the par-3 No. 2. Another birdie on the par-3 No. 12 was another highlight of the day for the now 10-time champion.
Despite those highlights, Kennedy almost conceded defeat to Ross prematurely. Mistakenly believing she was tied with Ross heading in the final regulation hole, Ross converted a par putt while Kennedy made bogey.
That result actually forged a tie at 9-over, but Kennedy believed that Ross, a former Spring Grove High School standout, beat her by a stroke.
“I actually congratulated her,” Kennedy said. “But as it turns out I was lucky to have just two-putted (No. 18) because if I would have three-putted, I wouldn’t have been in the playoff.”
In the playoff, the pair trekked between holes No. 9 and No. 1 several times before Kennedy eventually won with a par on the sixth hole (No. 1).
“Tori is just a fine, fine golfer,” Kennedy said of Ross, who beat Kennedy in last year’s Women's York County Amateur, which was then operated by the Women's York County Amateur Golf Association. “I wish that I had some of her ball-striking abilities, so I feel I got a little lucky today.”
Ross shot 76 on Saturday to grab a one-shot lead over Kennedy. The players then reversed those scores on Sunday.
Alexandra Lowder was third at 159, followed by Jocelyn Abel at 160 and Kendel Abrams at 162.
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at firstname.lastname@example.org.