124th U.S. Open

Pinehurst No. 2


JoAnne Carner unable to shoot her age in likely closing her remarkable career in USGA championships

May 17, 2019
2019 U.S. Senior Women's Open

Chris Keane

The scores, they didn’t matter, or maybe they did, but only to herself, the woman affectionately known as Big Mama. The U.S. Senior Women’s Open was a curtain call, an opportunity for JoAnne Carner to take her final bows.

Carner, 80, in all likelihood played her final competitive round, at Pine Needles Lodge & Golf Club in Southern Pines, N.C., on Friday. She shot a 14-over par 85 in the second round and failed to achieve her goal in either of the rounds of bettering her age, [unlike last year in the inaugural Senior Women's Open].(https://www.golfdigest.com/story/us-senior-womens-open-joanne-carner-age-79-shoots-her-age-at-chicago-golf-club-even-further-cementing-her-legendary-career).

She shot an 82 in the opening round and finished 36 holes in 25-over over par 167, 23 strokes behind Helen Alfredsson, who leads the championship by one over defending champion Laura Davies.

But, again, the numbers are immaterial in the matter of Carner, a World Golf Hall of Famer, to whom the United States Golf Association paid homage to one of its most prolific champions by inviting her to play in the first two U.S. Senior Women’s Opens. Might there be one more?

"It’s a decision down the road," she said. "But it's always so much fun to play. And you know, I don't have the putting yips, even though I missed some today. You know, as long as you don't have the yips, you don't have to worry about playing, you know."

Carner won eight USGA championships, behind only Bobby Jones and Tiger Woods, each of whom won nine. She won the U.S. Girls Junior once, the U.S. Women’s Amateur five times, and the U.S. Women’s Open twice. She is the only player to have won the Girls Junior, Women’s Amateur and Women’s Open. She also won 43 LPGA events, despite not turning professional until she was 30.

Moreover, she was playing a course once owned by the late Peggy Kirk Bell, an old friend with whom she played amateur golf.