Wilcoxson got her start at Hacker’s

Published 7:58 am Tuesday, May 24, 2016

SOUTH BEND — Not only with the 2016 Four Winds Invitational at Blackthorn Golf Club feature some of the world’s best young golfers, it will also have a local player in the field when the tournament tees off June 17.

The Four Winds Invitational, an LPGA Symetra Tour stop, will be held at Blackthorn June 17-19 and is once again a part of the Potowatomi Cup.

Former South Bend St. Joseph standout Anna Wilcoxson has been awarded a sponsor’s exemption and will be in the field.

Wilcoxson, who got her start swinging clubs at the age of two at Hacker’s in Niles.

She is currently a junior at Western Michigan University, where she is a three-time All-Scholar All-American with a 3.6 grade point average.

She finished 15th at the Mid-American Conference Championships this year.

“I’ve wanted to become a professional golfer since I was 2 years old,” Wilcoxson said during media day. “This is just one step closer to achieving that goal.”

Wilcoxson is no stranger to Blackthorn. It was the home course of the St. Joseph golf team for part of her four years.

The other sponsor’s exemption went to University of Georgia golfer Jullian Hollis.

Hollis is the No. 18th-ranked player according to Golf Week’s college rankings and No. 68 in the World Amateur Golf Rankings.

She was recently named to the SEC’s All-Freshmen Team and second team All-SEC.

Hollis also has a local connection as her grandfather, Paul Minnich, played golf at the University of Notre Dame.

One of the big announcements made at Media Day was that the fifth Four Winds Invitational will be free to attend thanks to sponsor Fit Stop, which has purchased all the tickets.

Fit Stop has seven locations in South Bend.

In addition to the tournament, there will be a Daddy-Daughter Pro-Am on June 13.

The pro-am is scheduled to begin with breakfast at 11 a.m. at Blackthorn. It is a 9-hole scramble format, which will begin with a noon shotgun start. Ice cream will be served after golf.

Cost is $50 per player and teams may register at http://blackthorngolf.com/symetra_daddydaughter.

The third annual Four Winds Invitational 5K Run and Fitness Walk will be June 19, the day of the final round. The run will start at 7:30 a.m. with the fitness walk with the race to follow at 7:35 a.m. The cost is $25 for the 5K and $20 for the fitness walk if registered before the day of the race.

An additional $5 will be charged for both races for those registering on June 19.

For more information go to http://blackthorngolf.com/symetra_5k.

Family Fund Day will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. June 19 at the Blarney Hole at Blackthorn. Free snacks, golf games and other family activities will be available.