High school student Emily Nash, 16, competed in the Central Massachusetts Division 3 Boys' Golf Tournament on Tuesday US time, and, playing from the same tees as the boys, beat the field by four shots but was not awarded the trophy due to a local athletic guideline.
Representing Lunenberg High School, Nash shot a 3-over 75 at Blissful Meadows Golf Club but under Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) rules, girls' scores can only count towards the team aspect of the tournament.
According to MIAA rules: "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 MIAA Boys' Golf Tournament is held in the American autumn while the MIAA Girls' Golf Tournament is staged in the spring.
Nash was allowed to tee it up against the boys because her school did not sponsor a girls' team for the spring tournament.
The MIAA released a statement on Thursday US time, refusing to budge despite calls for Nash to be awarded the Central Massachusetts Division 3 Boys' Golf Tournament trophy.
In a length press release, the MIAA at no point referred to Nash by her name, but called her "the female golfer from Lunenberg", and reaffirmed its sporting guidelines.
The story has received widespread attention from mainstream media outlets in the US including the Boston Globe, while Global Golf Post and PGA.com have also jumped on the story.
Two-time US Open champion Curtis Strange, current Oates Victorian Open champion Melissa Reid and two-time major winner Brittany Lincicome were among a chorus of high-profile names to offer support for Nash and bemusement at the situation.
Emily Nash,Champion #Emilywon. Plz RT— Curtis Strange (@golf_strange) October 26, 2017
This is infuriating . If everyone plays the same tees it doesn’t matter if your a girl or boy. Lowest score wins period https://t.co/hLFJoF1eFI— Brittany Lincicome (@Brittany1golf) October 26, 2017
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