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Rising Star Amateurs Selected For 2019 Four Winds Invitational; Players Include Pokagon Band Tribal Member From Maryland

May 14th, 2019

To download high-resolution images of Paige Warren and Alexa Pano, click here

The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians and Four Winds® Casinos are pleased to announce the names of two amateur golfers selected to be this year’s sponsor exemption for the upcoming Four Winds Invitational which takes place Friday, June 7 through Sunday, June 9 at Blackthorn Golf Club in South Bend. The Four Winds Invitational is part of the Symetra® Tour – Road to the LPGA®.

Sponsor exemptions are a tradition at the annual Four Winds Invitational and are used to give amateurs and up-and-coming players the opportunity to play in tournaments and compete against professionals. To qualify for consideration, players must have a 4 handicap or better.

This year’s exemptions are Paige Warren, a 16-year-old high school sophomore from Baltimore, and Alexa Pano, a 14-year-old high school freshman from Lake Worth, Florida.

Warren’s official golf career began just four years ago when she began playing and taking lessons. 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. Paige is a Native American and member of the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians. Each summer she provides service and support to the tribe by traveling to Dowagiac, and visiting with her family which includes Pokagon Tribal Council member Deb Williams and former Chairman, John Warren.

“It’s exciting to have an elite amateur player with us at the Invitational who is also a member of the Pokagon Band,” said Matt Wesaw, Chairman of the Pokagon Band. “Paige has been part of our community since she was born, and travels to our region each year to visit family and learn more of the culture and tradition of our people. We’re proud of her and look forward to watching her grow as an athlete and as a tribal citizen.”

Pano is returning to the Invitational for a second time. An elite junior golfer, Pano has won eight world championships and 67 national/international championships in nine years. She holds several scoring records in major championships worldwide. In 2018-19, she had five major wins and was atop the leaderboard in both USGA and professional championships. Pano is currently ranked #8 in the American Junior Golf Association and #13 in the Junior Golf Scoreboard, and 64th overall in the World Amateur Golf Ranking. She has a 260-yard driving average. In 2017, she became only the third 12-year-old to make the cut into match play in 117 years. In addition, yearly she competes in major college and women’s opens. In 2016, she became the youngest competitor ever (age 11) in LPGA Japan, competing in the Yonex Ladies Open in Nagaoka. She is the star of a 2013 film The Short Game co-produced by Jessica Biel and Justin Timberlake which highlights Pano and seven other junior golfers, age 7-8.

“For anyone into golf, to have someone like Alexa join our field of players is something not to miss. She’s not only a fierce competitor, she’s a great ambassador for the sport,” said Tim Firestone, general manager of Blackthorn Golf Club. “We know Alexa is looking forward to playing with the professional golfers on the Symetra Tour. The spectators have a lot to look forward to.”
To learn more about the Four Winds Invitational tournament, contact Firestone of Blackthorn Golf Club at (574) 232-4653, or visit

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 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

About the Symetra Tour
The Symetra Tour is the official qualifying tour of the LPGA Tour and enters its 39th competitive season in 2019. 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 Syme-tra’s inaugural sponsorship year in 2012, the Symetra Tour has grown from 16 tournaments and $1.7 million in prize money to $4.0 million in prize money awarded over the course of 24 tournaments. With more than 600 alumnae moving on to the LPGA, former Symetra Tour players have won a total of 437 LPGA titles.

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 approximately 5,600 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 and Four Winds Dowagiac in 2013. Four Winds South Bend opened January 2018. It owns and operates a variety of business via Mno-Bmadsen, the tribe’s non-gaming investment enterprise. More information is available at, and

About Four Winds Casinos
Four Winds New Buffalo, located at 11111 Wilson Road in New Buffalo, Mich., Four Winds Hartford®, located at 68600 Red Arrow Highway in Hartford, Mich., Four Winds Dowagiac®, located at 58700 M-51 South in Dowagiac, Mich., and Four Winds South Bend, located at 3000 Prairie Road in South Bend, Ind., are owned by the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians. Four Winds New Buffalo offers nearly 125,000 square feet of gaming with more than 2,500 slot machines, 48 table games, five restaurants, entertainment bars, retail venues, a pool, and a 415-room hotel, making it the premier gaming resort in the Midwest. Four Winds Hartford features more than 500 slot machines, eight table games, a 74-seat restaurant, and a 15-seat bar. Four Winds Dowagiac features 400 slot machines, seven table games and one restaurant. Four Winds South Bend has over 55,000 square feet of gaming space, 1,600 games, four restaurants, three bars, a players lounge, a coffee shop, a retail outlet and a 10-table, live dealer poker room. For more information on Four Winds Casinos, please call 1-(866)-4WINDS1 (866-494-6371) or visit


Media Contacts:
Melinda Pierce, Big Idea Company, (574) 257-4332,
Jill Klinedinst, Big Idea Company, (574) 257-4332,

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