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Alexa Pano, first female pro sponsored by NFL team, earns LPGA card

The 18-year-old professional golfer and lifelong Patriots fan will be taking the New England logo to another level next season.

Alexa Pano

The 2023 NFL Draft isn't for a few months, but we already know of one rookie who will be representing the New England Patriots at the highest level of their sport next year.

Alexa Pano, the first professional female golfer to be sponsored by an NFL team, earned her LPGA Tour card over the weekend. At just 18 years old, she's one of three teenagers to have qualified for the status.

"Ever since I realized that I wanted to play professional golf the goal has always been to compete on the LPGA tour, and I turned professional this past year knowing that I could accomplish that," Pano said. "To be able to have completed that goal in my first year eligible feels great and is another step closer towards many other aspirations I have."

Pano went pro at 17 years old this spring after forgoing college, and turned 18 while competing on the 2022 Epson Tour. With the Patriots' "Flying Elvis" logo on her polo and bag, she earned five top-10 finishes and made 16 cuts in 18 starts.

The brand partnership was natural for the Lake Worth, Fla. native who was born in Westborough, Mass.

Her father, Rick Pano, instilled her love of golf and Boston sports, and as she earned a reputation as one of the most accomplished junior golfers of all time, she became synonymous for wearing a Patriots visor while out on the course.

Eventually her talent drew the attention of Titleist, so the visor has been retired during tournaments in favor of the golf brand's hats. Pano still wanted to rep New England, though, and the Patriots logo bag she carried in her first U.S. Womens Open back in June caught the attention of the team.

"Everywhere I go, people and players are asking about the logo on my shirts and golf bag and how I am affiliated with the team," Pano said.

"I am so proud to represent this organization wherever I go. I was shocked at how big of a following the Patriots have everywhere I travel – especially in Alabama where the Q-Series was – because of so many Patriots players being Alabama products. The support that I have received from the organization, fans of the Patriots, and even just people who are happy to see this partnership is amazing. I am so proud that I get to carry the Patriots logo around the LPGA tour next year."

The partnership is unprecedented.

In 2014, male pro Patrick Rodgers became an ambassador for the Indianapolis Colts, and in 2018, the Jacksonville Jaguars announced a partnership with homegrown golfer Julian Suri who went on to play across the PGA and European Tours.

Pano is the first female pro golfer to be sponsored by an NFL club, and she's about to take the Patriots brand to the highest level of women's golf.

"My first year as a pro was a season full of learning and I enjoyed the environment of being on tour even more than I had expected," Pano said. "I had 5 top ten finishes and ended my year getting my LPGA card – which was the goal I started the year with. I love competing at the highest level and cannot wait to get back at it next year!"

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