If you’re a fan of golf, you’ve probably heard of Alexa Pano. She’s the young prodigy who starred in the Netflix documentary “The Short Game” when she was just eight years old, competing at the U.S. Kids World Golf Championship at Pinehurst. She’s the three-time Drive, Chip and Putt national finalist who played in the inaugural Augusta National Women’s Amateur in 2019. She’s the fearless teenager who skipped college to turn pro in 2022 and earned her LPGA card in Q Series last fall.
But did you know that she’s also a bogey bear?
That’s right, Alexa Pano is one of us. She loves golf, but she doesn’t take it too seriously. She shows up to the course with a smile, a swing, and a sense of humor. She plays with passion, but also with perspective. She knows how to have fun, but also how to win.
And boy, did she win.
On Sunday, August 20, 2023, Pano celebrated her 19th birthday by winning her first LPGA title at the ISPS Handa World Invitational in Northern Ireland. She shot a final-round 66 and birdied two of the last three holes to force a three-way playoff with Esther Henseleit and Gabriella Cowley. She then birdied the third playoff hole to seal the deal and lift the trophy.
It was a remarkable performance by Pano, who showed resilience, courage, and clutch putting under pressure. She became the youngest winner on tour this year, taking that title from Rose Zhang, and the eighth first-time winner on the LPGA in 2023. She also became the third rookie to win this season, joining Zhang and Patty Tavatanakit.
Pano’s victory was not only a personal milestone, but also a historic moment for women’s golf. The ISPS Handa World Invitational was a unique event that featured two competitions being held at the same time with 144 women and 144 men playing for $1.5 million in prize money each. It was co-sanctioned by the LPGA Tour and Ladies European Tour and played concurrently with a DP World Tour men’s event at Galgorm Castle Golf Club.
Pano said she was thrilled to be part of such an innovative tournament that showcased equality and diversity in golf.
“I think it’s awesome,” she said. “I think it’s really cool to see both tours come together and play at the same venue. I think it’s great for golf and great for women’s golf especially.”
We’re proud of you, Alexa. Bogey Bear Golf is part of the fan club!
Congratulations on your first LPGA win and happy birthday!
You deserve it.