84-Year-Old Hall Of Famer Betters Her Age By An Incredible Four Shots

Two-time Major winner JoAnne Carner has now shot or beaten her age six times at the US Senior Women's Open

JoAnne Carner
Carner bettered her age by four shots
(Image credit: Getty Images)

JoAnne Carner was at it again as she bettered her age of 84 in the opening round of the US Senior Women’s Open. The Hall of Famer, who won 43 times on the LPGA Tour, actually had shots to spare as she birdied her closing hole for a remarkable eight-over 80.

The US Senior Women's Open only began in 2018 but that year she shot her age of 79 and in 2021 she broke the record for the oldest person to play in a USGA championship at 82 – she would shoot rounds of 82-79. Then last year she shot her age (83) in both the first and second rounds. Then she said: "I never say goodbye, but goodbye!" but she was back for more this year.

It is the sixth time that Carner, affectionately known as Big Mama, has shot her age or better in the Championship.

Carner teed off at the 10th and reached the turn in a five-over 41 at Waverley Country Club in Oregon and she then played her last four holes in level par thanks to a birdie at her last, the par-3 123-yard 9th, where she hit her tee shot to two feet.

"It felt good. It's always great to be back at any USGA event," said Carner, who won the first of her two US Opens back in 1971. "I've been practising a lot and really kind of spinning my wheels, and then I started to get the move here and had it on the range this morning, and the first hole, then I fought it. Once in a while I'd hit one, but it was just work all day."

The 84-year-old nearly holed her tee shot on the 9th – "My eyes aren't that good but I appreciated the applause" – and she was already eyeing something lower on day two. 

"It's a little outrageous, 69 sounds wonderful to me. I missed a lot of greens. It plays long for me because I have a 9-degree driver and I'm driving right into those hills, and I can't adjust it, so I don't get the carry, and I'm going in with long clubs all day, 3-woods all day, long second shots, and then can't get there."

Her 80 put her in a tie for 83rd in a field where Scotland's Catriona Matthew and Michell McGann shared the lead after three-under 69s. Dame Laura Davies and Annika Sorenstam were both round in 74.

Mark Townsend
Contributing editor

Mark has worked in golf for over 20 years having started off his journalistic life at the Press Association and BBC Sport before moving to Sky Sports where he became their golf editor on skysports.com. He then worked at National Club Golfer and Lady Golfer where he was the deputy editor and he has interviewed many of the leading names in the game, both male and female, ghosted columns for the likes of Robert Rock, Charley Hull and Dame Laura Davies, as well as playing the vast majority of our Top 100 GB&I courses. He loves links golf with a particular love of Royal Dornoch and Kingsbarns. He is now a freelance, also working for the PGA and Robert Rock. Loves tour golf, both men and women and he remains the long-standing owner of an horrific short game. He plays at Moortown with a handicap of 6.