U.S. SENIOR WOMEN'S AMATEUR
Leach, Kyrinis Lead the Way After Round 1 at Orchid Island October 6, 2018 | Vero Beach, Fla. By Scott Lipsky, USGA

Judith Kyrinis got off to a strong start on Saturday in defense of her U.S. Senior Women's Amateur title. (USGA/John Gress)

57th U.S. Senior Women's Amateur |#USSeniorWomensAm 
Orchid Island Golf & Beach Club, Vero Beach, Fla.
Round 1, Stroke Play: Par 72, 5,689 yards | Hole Locations 
Championship History | Media Center

What Happened

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 Round 1 of stroke play, one stroke 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.

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. 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.

What's Next

The field will be cut to 64 players after Sunday’s second round of stroke play. Those players will advance into the match-play portion of the championship, which begins on Monday morning. A playoff for the final spots in match play will break any ties.

Notable

  • Martha Leach’s 69 is the lowest first-round score in the U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur since 2011, when Lisa Schlesinger shot 68 at The Honors Course, in Chattanooga, Tenn.

  • Patsy Ehret, of Stuart, Fla., shot 9-over 81 on Saturday, putting her in a tie for 60th. Ehret, 74, is the second-oldest player in the field and is a three-time cancer survivor.

  • The par-4 sixth hole played as the most difficult hole during Round 1, with a stroke average of 4.89. The par-3 15th (3.13) played as the easiest.

  • Vero Beach resident Laura Carson shot 4-over 76 on Saturday, tying the lowest score of the 15 players in the field from Florida. Mary Jane Hiestand, of Naples, also shot 76.

Quotable

Martha Leach (3-under 69) on her round: “I hit a lot of good shots today, which was really rewarding because I have not been playing well. My husband [John] and I have been working on some swing things, and I really hit a lot of solid shots. I hit one out of bounds today. I said, ‘I’m not doing this again.’ I played well, and had a good group to play with.”

Judith Kyrinis (2-under 70) on her round: “I just kind of dunked it right in the water (on No. 3), I don’t even know what happened, but I actually made a really nice bogey so that actually kind of propelled me, and then I made a couple of nice putts on the next two holes to get some birdies back. I hit a lot of fairways, a lot of greens, just gave myself chances, and I just was pulling the right club all day.”

Kyrinis on her mindset playing as the reigning champion: “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.”

Sue Wooster (1-over 73) on Orchid Island: “I enjoyed the course. I think it’s a challenge. There’s a lot of water out there. You have to put that in the back of your mind a bit. I thought it was a fair test.”

Leigh Klasse (even-par 72) on the course conditions: “It was a little windier today than it was yesterday, so that makes it a little more challenging, plus I’m dealing with coming from a higher elevation. But the course is in great shape. The greens putt really, really nice.”

Patricia Ehrhart (even-par 72) on having her 12-year-old daughter, Scarlett, caddie for her: “Oh my gosh, it melts my heart. She helped me reading putts today, which is good because I’ve been teaching her at home. We have the same greens at home, same type of grass. She’s a trooper.”

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