Leach leads U.S. Senior Women's Am, Kyrinis close behind
Martha Leach (USGA photo)
Martha Leach (USGA photo)

VERO BEACH, Fla. (Oct. 4, 2018) – Reigning U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur champion Judith Kyrinis, of Canada, got her title defense off to a solid start on Saturday, firing a 2-under-par 70 at Orchid Island Golf & Beach Club to put her in second place after the first round of stroke play. She is one shot behind Martha Leach, of Hebron, Ky.

Kyrinis, 54, was steady throughout her morning round, recovering from an early bogey that resulted from finding water off the tee. She birdied her next two holes and made 10 straight pars before a birdie on the par-4 16th hole that helped her post a 70, the lowest stroke-play round in a Senior Women’s Amateur for Kyrinis, who also finished as the runner-up in 2014. She is trying to become the first player to successfully defend the title since Ellen Port in 2013.

“I was so stressed about trying to get that (players dinner) speech done last night, that that’s all I had time to think about, so getting up this morning and heading out it was just kind of all right, well let’s go at it, you’re not going to win anything in the stroke-play portion anyway,” Kyrinis said of her defending-champion status this week.

Heading into Sunday, she trails just Leach, the 2009 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur champion, for medalist honors and the top seed in match play, which begins on Monday. Leach, 56, carded five birdies on Saturday on her way to a 3-under 69, also her lowest score in a U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur, putting her in great position to make match play for the seventh time in seven tries.

“I hit a lot of good shots today, which was really rewarding because I have not been playing well,” Leach said. “My husband [John] and I have been working on some swing things, and I really hit a lot of solid shots.”

While many of the big numbers posted by the 132-player field on Saturday involved water hazards, which are featured on 17 of 18 holes, Leach’s only hiccup came when she hit her tee shot out of bounds on the par-5 13th hole, her fourth hole of the round, which led to a double bogey. Like Kyrinis, she quickly rebounded, birdieing three of her next four holes. She combined seven pars with birdies on Nos. 3 and 9 on her incoming nine to post the only sub-70 round of the day.

Four players, including 2017 semifinalist Patricia Ehrhart and 2004 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur champion Corey Weworski, shot even-par 72. Three-time champion Ellen Port, who last won the title in 2016, carded a 3-over 75, while 2017 runner-up and Kyrinis’ countrywoman, Terrill Samuel, shot 5-over 77, largely due to a quadruple-bogey 8 on the 11th hole.

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ABOUT THE U.S. Senior Women's Amateur

The USGA Senior Women's Amateur is open to female golfers with a USGA Handicap Index not exceeding 14.4, who will have reached their 50th birthday on or before the first day of the championship. It is one of 14 national championships conducted annually by the USGA, 10 of which are strictly for amateurs.

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