The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi and its Four Winds® Casinos announced today that the 2020 Four Winds Invitational, part of the Symetra® Tour – Road to the LPGA®, will be held without spectators from Friday, September 4 through Sunday, September 6 at Blackthorn Golf Club, located at 6100 Nimtz Parkway, South Bend. The sponsor exemptions for this year’s tournament are Alexa Pano and Pokagon Citizen, Paige Warren.
“2020 marks the ninth year of the Four Winds Invitational and we couldn’t be more proud of the continued success of the tournament, and all of the great support it has received over the years from sponsors, players, volunteers and the community,” said Matthew Wesaw, Tribal Chairman of the Pokagon Band. “Not only has it become an important opportunity for the young ladies of the Symetra Tour, but also an important fundraising platform to help our long-term partner, Beacon Health System, purchase life-saving equipment for those in need. The decision to proceed without spectators is consistent with other Symetra Tour events, and we are very appreciative of the efforts by Mike Nichols, Chief Business Officer of the Symetra Tour, and our tournament organizers to accommodate our desire to reschedule the event due to COVID-19 and to protect the players and event staff.”
Frank Freedman, Chief Operating Officer of Four Winds Casinos, added, “The Four Winds Invitational has become a signature summer golf event in the region. Although we’ll miss the community interaction on the course and the additional events and festivities leading up to the tournament, we are excited that we are able to move forward with the event after it was postponed earlier this year. We look forward to another successful tournament and wish all the players the best of luck this year.”
“Both Alexa Pano and Paige Warren represent some of finest young woman golfers in the country aspiring to one day play on the LPGA Symetra Tour,” said Tim Firestone, CEO of Blackthorn Operating Group. “We are very excited to welcome both of them back to the Four Winds Invitational, as well as numerous players that have competed in the tournament in previous years. We hope the fans will follow the leaderboard and watch all the related coverage of tournament.”
Paige Warren is a 17-year-old high school junior from Baltimore. In her freshman year at The Bryn Mawr School in Baltimore, she was the #1 seed and went undefeated, earning All-Conference honors. As a sophomore, she won the individual Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland championship and led her team in wins. She competes in the elite ranks of the Mid-Atlantic PGA. Each summer she provides service and support to the Pokagon Band by traveling to Dowagiac, Mich. and visiting with her family which includes former Chairman, John Warren.
Alexa Pano is a 15-year-old high school sophomore from Lake Worth, Fla, who is an elite junior golfer and has won eight world championships and 67 national/international championships. She holds several scoring records in major championships worldwide. Pano is currently ranked #3 in the American Junior Golf Association.
Proceeds from the 2020 Four Winds Invitational will be donated to Beacon Health System to help purchase Centrella™ Smart+ Beds. The Smart Beds will be placed in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at Beacon Children’s Hospital and will improve mobility and prevent pressure injuries, which can lead to infection and increased length of stay. More information on the Centralla Smart+ Bed can be found at www.centrallabed.com.
Over the last nine years, Beacon Health System has received $672,500 from the Four Winds Invitational. In previous years, Beacon Health System has used funds from the Four Winds Invitational to help build a multi-story building above the Memorial Leighton Trauma Center for the General Pediatrics Unit, Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, Newborn Intensive Care unit, and Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Clinic. Funds have also enabled Beacon Children’s Hospital to purchase a pediatric ambulance, a portable ultrasound for the hospital’s MedFlight program, an incubator and giraffe warmers for the NICU, patient simulators to assist with educating and training area pediatric healthcare professionals, and power lifts for the pediatric ambulances.
About the Four Winds Invitational
The Four Winds® Invitational was established in 2012 as part of the Symetra® Tour - Road to the LPGA®, and is sponsored by the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians and its Four Winds® Casinos. It is held at Blackthorn Golf Club, located at 6100 Nimtz Parkway, South Bend, Ind. The tournament features a field of professional women golfers from around the world. More information is available at http://blackthorngolf.com/symetra/ and https://www.symetratour.com/tournaments/four-winds-invitational/overview.
About The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians
The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians’ sovereignty was reaffirmed under legislation signed into law by President Clinton in September of 1994. The Pokagon Band is dedicated to providing community development initiatives such as housing, education, family services, medical care and cultural preservation for its more than 5,700 citizens. The Pokagon Band’s ten-county service area includes four counties in Southwestern Michigan and six in Northern Indiana. Its main administrative offices are located in Dowagiac, Mich., with a satellite office in South Bend, Ind. In 2007, it opened Four Winds Casino Resort in New Buffalo, Mich., followed by Four Winds Hartford in 2011, Four Winds Dowagiac in 2013 and Four Winds South Bend in January 2018. The Pokagon Band operates a variety of businesses via Mno-Bmadsen, its non-gaming investment enterprise. More information is available at www.pokagonband-nsn.gov, www.fourwindscasino.com and www.mno-bmadsen.com
About the Symetra Tour
The Symetra Tour is the official qualifying tour of the LPGA Tour and enters its 40th competitive season in 2020. With the support of its entitlement partner Symetra, the Tour’s mission is to prepare the world’s best young women professional golfers for a successful career on the LPGA Tour. Since Symetra’s inaugural sponsorship year in 2012, the Symetra Tour has grown from 16 tournaments and $1.7 million in prize money to a record $4.0 million in prize money awarded in 2019. With more than 600 alumnae moving on to the LPGA, former Symetra Tour players have won a total of 445 LPGA titles. Follow the Symetra Tour on the web at www.SymetraTour.com, as well as www.Facebook.com/Road2LPGA, www.Twitter.com/Road2LPGA and on Instagram @road2lpga.
Symetra Life Insurance Company is a subsidiary of Symetra Financial Corporation, a diversified financial services company based in Bellevue, Washington. In business since 1957, Symetra provides employee benefits, annuities and life insurance through a national network of benefit consultants, financial institutions and independent agents and advisors. Symetra began its partnership with the Road to the LPGA in 2010 as the title sponsor of the Symetra Classic. It secured naming rights for the Symetra Tour in November 2011. In addition to its title sponsorship of the Tour, which runs through 2021, Symetra sponsors two events on the tournament schedule—the Symetra Classic and the season-ending Symetra Tour Championship. For more information about Symetra, visit www.symetra.com.
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