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JoAnne Carner shoots her age, 79, at inaugural Women's Senior Open

Golf, Ladies Pro Golf Association

The inaugural U.S. Senior Women's Open at historic Chicago Golf Club began Thursday with a shot by the oldest player in the field, 79-year-old JoAnne Carner.

Then the Hall of Famer went out and shot her age.  

Elaine Crosby has the lead after a 3-under-par 70 in the first round of play in Wheaton, Illinois, at the first 72-hole USGA championship for women 50 and older.

A winner of two tournaments in 17 LPGA seasons, the 60-year-old Crosby owns a one-shot advantage over Trish Johnson, Laura Davies and Liselotte Neumann.

Carner won 43 times on the LPGA Tour. She is the only woman to have won the U.S. Girls' Junior, U.S. Women's Amateur and U.S. Women's Open titles, and she was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame some 36 years ago, in 1982.

Carner opened her round Thursday with four consecutive bogeys on the front side and finished her front nine with five bogeys and a triple.

But she rallied on her back nine, where she carded three of her four birdies on the way to a 6-over 79.

She wasn't very happy with the round, however, and headed out to the range afterward. She says she wants to make the 36-hole cut.

"Really, I can shoot this course under par," she told Golfweek.

Crosby started on the back nine with a 3-under 34 and made only one bogey on the day at one of the oldest 18-hole courses in the U.S.

Johnson, who won the first Senior LPGA Championship in 2017, birdied four of the five par-5 holes.

Helen Alfredsson shot a 72, and Juli Inkster, Jean Bartholomew, Marilyn Lovander and Alicia Dibos matched par.

Alfredsson, however, was still talking about Carner and her 79, saying "She is one of the toughest women I have ever met."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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