Big Mama did it again.
JoAnne Carner, the 84-year-old who won two U.S. Women’s Open titles in her career, shot 80 on Thursday in the opening round of the 2023 U.S. Senior Women’s Open at Waverley Country Club in Portland, Oregon. It is the sixth time in the championship’s five-year history that Carner has shot her age or better.
She already was the oldest to play in a USGA championship. Adding to that Thursday, she just continues to impress.
“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,” Carner said.
“Once in a while I’d hit one, but it was just work all day.”
Take a bow, Big Mama. pic.twitter.com/R33cJCQayT
— USGA (@USGA) August 24, 2023
On her final hole of the day, Carner nearly made an ace, but she tapped in for birdie and carded an 8-over 80.
“No, my eyes aren’t that good, but I appreciated the applause,” Carner said on whether she saw how close she hit it. “I knew I could finally maybe make a birdie.”
Carner has won eight USGA titles, more than any woman in history. Yet she acknowledges the challenges of playing at her age.
“I missed a lot of greens,” Carner said. “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.”
She’s happy with her score Thursday, but it’s just off from what she was aiming for.
“Well, yeah, but it’s a little outrageous,” She said when asked if she had a target score. “Sixth-nine sounds wonderful to me.”
Catriona Matthew paces the field after an opening 3-under 69 in the Pacific Northwest.