Pano, 14, chasing history with share of Symetra Tour lead
Alexa Pano (DJ World Junior photo)
Less than a week ago, Alexa Pano
was adding to her win total with a runaway 12-shot victory at the Dustin Johnson World Junior Championship. On Saturday, she'll sleep on a share of the lead at the Symetra Tour's season opener.
It’s only March, but already this year Pano has four top-5 finishes, including two wins (her first came at the Ione D. Jones-Doherty Amateur in January). It was a quick turnaround from the junior event in Myrtle Beach, S.C., to a Symetra Tour start in North Port, Fla. Pano barely had time to celebrate with her friends before getting back on the road. The 14-year-old, however, likes it that way.
“I’ve always really liked hopping from one event to the next event,” she said.
Through 54 holes of the Symetra Tour’s SkyiGolf Championship at Charlotte Harbor National Golf Club, Pano is 8 under. The 14-year-old fired rounds of 69-69-70 and is tied for first with Jean Reynolds, Allison Emrey and Lauren Kim.
Should Pano pull off a win tomorrow, she would replace Hannah O'Sullivan, currently a sophomore at Duke, as the youngest winner of a Symetra Tour event. O'Sullivan won the Gateway Classic in 2015 as a 16-year-old. The last sponsor invite to win an event was Brooke Henderson at the 2015 Four Winds Invitational.
Pano doesn't appear fazed by being the youngest player in the event. That's hardly a new thing.
“It’s something I’m kind of used to it. Playing up in events a lot, I’d hear ‘youngest person ever’ so often,” she said. “It’s actually kind of gone away from me. Now that I’m 14, I’m kind of ‘old’ and can’t win the ‘youngest’ thing. But here we are again.”
In Myrtle Beach, Pano said she likes where here game is trending thanks to a new team she has built around her that includes instructors Jerry Tucker and Chris O’Connell.
Pano hesitated when asked after her Dustin Johnson win for 2019’s big goal. Then she offered this: Win every time she tees it up. There was no distinction about where or what kind of field she was playing in. Clearly, there doesn't need to be.