CEDAR RAPIDS — Martha Leach and her husband John celebrated their 36th wedding anniversary on Monday.
When asked by a reporter whether the milestone gave Martha pause regarding her participation in the 58th U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur Championship, which began Saturday and runs through Thursday at the Cedar Rapids Country Club, the USGA golfer revealed there was no decision to be made.
“It wasn’t even a thought,” Martha Leach said with a laugh. “I was coming here no matter what and I knew he was going to caddy for me. It just so happens, when you are married 36 years, it is a special day for us but you do your thing.”
Golf has long been the ‘thing’ for the Leachs. Martha, 57, has competed in dozens of USGA events and is a member of both the Kentucky and Georgia halls of fame, while John — a golf instructor and 2018 Kentucky PGA Teacher of the Year — has been her caddy for nearly 30 years.
“We have a great relationship, but it can be a little testy at times,” Martha Leach said with a laugh. “I always say I am his worst student and his best student all at once. I am probably the only student he has that will say he is wrong and I will talk back to him, but that is the wife coming out of me, not the player.”
In January, the couple dealt with a significant health scare when John experienced a breathing episode after returning to their home in Hebron, Ky., following the PGA Merchandise Show. Tests revealed his heart needed triple-bypass surgery.
“He is doing well,” Martha Leach said. “He caddied for me three months later in the Women’s Senior Open, which I was not prepared for because of just work, weather and him.”
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The union is off to a strong start at Cedar Rapids’ first USGA event. Sunday, Martha won the two-day stroke play portion of the tournament by two strokes with the only below-par performance of the weekend. That achievement earned her the top seed for match play, which began Monday with a field of 64 stroke-play qualifiers.
She won her first-round match, 6 and 4, over Jane Curtin of Silver Spring, Md., and raved about the performance of the course and Cedar Rapids as a host.
“They are doing an excellent job,” Leach said. “It is really nice. I played against a first-time competitor to a USGA event and she was just enthralled and I said, ‘Well, Cedar Rapids has really done a great job in welcoming us players to their facility.’”
The Round of 32 is Tuesday, and admission is free to spectators.
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