Emily Nash pictured on Tuesday at the Central Massachusetts Division 3 boys' golf tournament. Christine Peterson

US teenager wins golf tournament but is denied trophy because she is female

A Massachusetts ruling stated that girls could compete as part of a team, but not as individuals.

A TEENAGER IN the US who came first in a regional golf competition was denied the tournament trophy and the chance to play at the state high school golf championships due to the fact that she was female.

16-year-old Emily Nash won the Central Massachusetts Division 3 boys’ golf tournament on Tuesday, finishing four strokes ahead of the runner up — shooting a three-over-par 75.

However she was not awarded the trophy due to a Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association rule which states that while girls can compete as part of a team, they cannot take part as individuals.

“I was definitely disappointed, but I understand that there are rules in place,” she said speaking to the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.

“I don’t think people expected for this to happen, so they didn’t really know how to react to it. None of us are mad at the MIAA or anything like that, but I was definitely a little bit disappointed.”

The rule was criticised heavily by experts and across social media throughout the week: “well done Emily. But I wonder if a boy won the girls comp would the out cry be for the same reason?” said one user.

“Not good enough. Be part of the solution,  not the problem,” another added.

The MIAA, which is the governing body for high school athletics in the state, stood by its ruling.

It stated that it gave female golfers the opportunity to take part in male competitions as part of a team and that this decision had been met positively. However it maintained female golfers could not partake in individual male competitions during the Fall:

Approximately 26 female golfers participated in 2017 fall boys golf tournaments.  This opportunity has been met positively by many student-athletes and school programs.  Given this team opportunity during the fall tournament season, it has been clear to participants that female golfers playing in the fall boys team tournament are not participating in an individual capacity.  The individual tournament opportunity for female golfers takes place during the spring season.  As stated in the official MIAA 2017 Fall Golf format, “Girls playing on a fall boys team cannot be entered in the boys fall individual tournament.  They can only play in the boys team tournament.  If qualified, they can play in the spring Girls Sectional and State Championships.”

The ruling meant Nash was also denied the opportunity to compete in state championships in Massachusetts which would have been afforded to a male winner otherwise.

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