JoAnne Carner, 82, sets records at U.S. Senior Women's Open despite missing cut

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JoAnne Carner, 82, failed to reach her goal of making the cut at the U.S. Senior Women’s Open, but she broke some records anyway in her two rounds at Brooklawn Country Club. 

Carner shot her age and below with an 82 in Round 1 and a 79 in Round 2. She finished at 17-over 161 with the cut at 8 over. 

But it was a historical two days for Carner, as she became the fifth golfer ever to shoot their age or better multiple times in a USGA championship while also being the oldest golfer ever to play in a USGA championship. The previous record was held by Jug McSpaden who played the ’90 U.S. Senior Open at 81 years old. 

“It was really fun,” Carner said Friday following her round. “I mean, I started too late to — normally you come in here you’re all ready. 

“But, you know, I was still hunting and pecking for some way to get it around there. Just, you know, I would hit a really good shot and then two holes later I would drop-kick it. You know, so it was just very erratic for me.”

Wait, there’s more that makes Carner’s feat more remarkable. She has chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and had surgery on her right hip in December 2019. She was granted permission to use a cart during her time in Fairfield, Connecticut. 

The 1971 and ’76 U.S. Women’s Open champion also didn’t swing a club for 14 months due to COVID-19 but has been preparing for this event for the last two months. The preparation paid off on the tee, as she hit double-digit greens in both of her rounds in one of the toughest tests in golf, but did putt over 30 times in both rounds, too. 

“Well, the USGA is always the toughest, even in the juniors,” she said. “You know, the Opens, of course. But you can’t just hit every green and every fairway in an Open. You’re always going to have to play out of rough and out of the sand and all that. 

“So your whole game has to be in good shape. That’s what I love about it. Those boring girls down the middle don’t win the Open usually.” 

Although Carner didn’t come away with the win this week, there’s nothing boring about the cigarette smokin’ 43-time LPGA winner. She’ll look to break her own record next year at NCR Country Club Kettering, Ohio.