POTAWATOMI CUP DRIVING ON FOR SIXTH YEAR
Now entering its sixth consecutive year of competition, the Potawatomi Cup in 2019 kicks off with the eighth annual Four Winds Invitational from June 7-9 at Blackthorn Golf Club, the first of four Symetra Tour events sponsored by Potawatomi nation tribes.
The other three tournaments on the schedule that are part of the Potawatomi Cup include the Island Resort Championship at Sweetgrass Golf Club in Harris, Mich., from June 21-23; PHC Classic at Brown Deer Golf Course in Glendale, Wis., from Aug. 9-11; and the FireKeepers Casino Hotel Championship at Battle Creek Country Club in Battle Creek, Mich., from Aug. 16-18.
As well as the normal purse payout for each event, points and a total of $40,000 in bonus money is available to players based on performance including $6,000 to the winner of the Potawatomi Cup. First through fifth place in each of the four tournaments receive an added incentive on top of their share. The winner will take home an additional $3,000 and second place collects $2,500. Furthermore, third place earns $1,500, with amounts from there for the final two spots decreasing in increments of $500.
Last year, (Chapel Hill, North Carolina) captured the Potawatomi Cup thanks to a victory in the Four Winds Invitational, tied for 29th result at the Island Resort Championship, tied for 16th finish at the PHC Classic and ending tied for fourth at the FireKeepers Casino Hotel Championship. She earned a combined total of 704.25 points to beat out Dottie Ardina (Laguna, Philippines) with 546 points.
The inaugural Potawatomi Cup was won by (Seoul, Republic of Korea) in 2014, with (Levittown, N.Y.) the victor in 2015, (La Hulpe, Belgium) in 2016 and (Bangkok, Thailand)in 2017. Both Kwak and Schechter are part of the field this week in South Bend, Ind., set to begin the quest of trying to become the first two-time Potawatomi Cup winner in Symetra Tour history.
HOLLIS HOPING TO MAKE GRANDFATHER(S) PROUD
In the shadows of Touchdown Jesus and the Golden Dome on the University of Notre Dame campus just eight miles down the road is Blackthorn Golf Club, ready to host a 144-player Four Winds Invitational field which includes Volvik Race for the Card No. 5 Jillian Hollis (Rocky River, Ohio).
Although a University of Georgia alumna, her grandfather Paul Minnich was a member of the Notre Dame men’s golf team from 1951-1954. Hollis recalls time spent with him in South Bend on several occasions throughout her childhood.
“I came back with him when I was really young,” said Hollis. “I remember coming here, going to the games and the Grotto [of Our Lady of Lourdes], just all round Notre Dame. My mom is going to bring my grandma up to watch me play this weekend and that will be really special.”
One week after attending his 50th class reunion at Notre Dame, Minnich passed away on June 1,2004, because of cancer. Hollis was only seven years old, but the memories are abundant and she knows he will be walking the fairways with her this week.
“He didn’t get to see me playing golf seriously,” Hollis said. “We’re a super religious Irish family. My mom always talks about him and the other golfing angels following me around, watching me play. It’s cool that he can see me all the time. It’s sad I don’t have either of my grandpas around anymore, they were both my biggest fans. I know they’re with me all the time.”
PANO BACK AS TOURNAMENT SPONSOR EXEMPTION
Since competing at the inaugural SKYiGOLF Championship in March, Alexa Pano (Lake Worth, Florida) has stayed plenty busy and returns to South Bend as a tournament sponsor exemption for a second straight year.
Last month, she won the 39th annual Scott Robertson Memorial Golf Tournament presented by BB&T. The 14-year-old amateur followed that by teeing it up in the 74th U.S. Women’s Open and after the stop in northern Indiana, will head back to South Carolina for the AGA Rolex Junior Girls Championship.
“It was a really good experience,” said Pano, who went 75-74 at the Country Club of Charleston. “The golf course was unlike anything I had ever played before, super difficult. It was really nice for me to experience for the first time and I definitely learned a lot from it.”
Gearing up for her third career start on the Symetra Tour, Pano carded rounds of 70-70-74 over three days at the 2018 Four Winds Invitational. She captured a good bit of course knowledge from playing the weekend on Blackthorn Golf Club and will take it with her into this year’s event.
“This course is super interesting, every hole is kind of different,” Pano said. “I really do like this course and it’s nice coming back, knowing it and all the pins. Being able to play the same course two years in a row is something we don’t usually do in junior golf, so it is really fun for me. I love traveling and my tournament schedule is always enjoyable to go around the country.”