Four Winds Invitational exemptions announced

Published 10:40 am Monday, July 31, 2023

SOUTH BEND — The 2023 Four Winds Invitational, which is a little over a week away, announced its two exemptions Monday morning.

The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians and its Four Winds Casinos, sponsors of the LPGA Symetra Tour stop at the South Bend Country Club Aug. 10 through Aug. 12, announced that Michelle Piyapattra and Erica Shepherd would be the two exemptions to the 2023 tournament.

“The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi and its Four Winds Casinos are proud to have selected Michelle Piyapattra and Erica Shepherd as our sponsor exempt players for the 2023 Four Winds Invitational,” said Scott Brewer, senior vice president of Government Affairs and Community Relations/Security for Four Winds Casinos. “Both are rising stars and represent the high level of talent competing on the Epson Tour. We wish them both the best of luck for this year’s tournament.”

Piyapattra, who is from Eastvale, California, played Division I golf for Columbia University in New York. Over her four-year career, Piyapattra won six individual championships, including the Ivy League Conference Tournament. She also earned first-team All-Ivy three times. She was the Ivy League Player of the Year as a sophomore.

Piyapattra, a political science and anthropology major, won her first professional tournament during her senior year at Columbia as she captured the Canadian Women’s Open in 2014. Since then, Piyapattra has maintain full-status on the Epson Tour. In last year’s Four Winds Invitational she finished tied for 21st place.

“I really wanted to play in this year’s event since I was in contention the final round last year and just wasn’t able to make a move on the last day,” she said. “Also, I thought last year’s event would be my last, but now as a college coach I had a week free from recruiting and wanted to come back to play in South Bend where I have community ties.”

Shepherd, from Greenwood, Indiana, is a recent graduate of Duke University where she became the 11th Blue Devil to have three top 15 NCAA Regional finishes. She tied for 14th in 2023, 11th in 2022 and 13th in 2021. She finished her career at Duke with a 73.12 stroke average. She won one individual championship to go along with six top-five, 10 top-10 and 16 top-20 finishes.

Shepherd is thrilled to be playing in Indiana.

“It means so much to me to start my professional golf career in the state that I grew up in,” she said. “Playing in the 2023 Four Winds Invitational will provide me with invaluable experience as I prepare for Q-school in late August.”

Volunteers are still needed to fill a variety of roles at the 2023 Four Winds Invitational. Volunteer roles include assisting with scoring duties and serving as building attendants, caddies, cart drivers, driving range attendants, food and beverage servers, marshals and spotters, parking attendants, standard bearers, shuttle drivers, and more.

For more information and to complete the volunteer application, please visit or contact Ronna Nowinski, Four Winds Invitational Volunteer Coordinator at