Joanne Carner broke her age (84) by four shots at the 2023 US Senior Women's Open

Joanne Carner broke her age (84) by four shots at the 2023 US Senior Women’s Open

A photo of Joanne Carner

Joanne Carner is an absolute legend in golf. The 84-year-old won the US Women's Open on two different occasions (1971, 1976) and won 43 total times in her LPGA Tour career. She's one of the best and most successful pro golfers of all time.

Carner, whose nickname is "Big Mama," has also become a cult favorite among a new generation of golf fans because of how much fun she has been to watch at the US Senior Women's Open since it started in 2018 at Chicago Golf Club. Carner qualified for the USGA's 50-and-up women's open on the basis of her incredible career. She still scores well, and fans love watching her walking the fairways, sometimes wearing a great jacket, sometimes smoking a cigarette or two.

On Thursday, she again captured the attention of golf fans when she broke her age by four shots in the first round of the 2023 US Senior Women's Open, played this year at Waverley Country Club in Portland, Ore.

Carner shot 8-over-par 80 in the opening around, going out in 41 and coming back in an even more impressive 39 to shoot 80 on the dot. The 84-year-old beat well over one-third of the 132-player field with her score.

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The legend said she didn't have her best stuff on Thursday: "I've been practicing 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."

Still, Carner had a target number that she prefaced as perhaps being too aggressive, saying, "69 sounds wonderful to me."

This isn't the first time Carner has shot her age or better at the US Senior Women's Open. It's actually the third time. On July 29 and 30, 2021, Carner broke her age at Brooklawn Country Club in Fairfield, Conn. In Round 1, she shot her age (82) in the first round. On Day 2, she went three better with 79. She became the fifth golfer ever to shoot their age or better multiple times in a USGA championship, and this week she extended her record as the oldest golfer ever to play in a USGA championship.

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Ryan Ballengee

Ryan Ballengee is founder and editor of Golf News Net. He has been writing and broadcasting about golf for nearly 20 years. Ballengee lives in the Washington, D.C. area with his family. He is a scratch golfer...sometimes.

Ballengee can be reached by email at ryan[at]

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