BOSTON • A Massachusetts teenager who finished first in a regional tournament this week was denied the trophy and a chance to play at the state high school golf championships because she is female, reported local media.
Emily Nash, 16, shot a three-over 75 at the Central Massachusetts Division 3 boys' golf tournament on Tuesday, four strokes ahead of runner-up Nico Ciolino, according to the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.
Her team did not qualify as a group to compete in the state championships and she will not be allowed to play as an individual under Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) rules.
"I was definitely disappointed, but I understand that there are rules in place," she told the newspaper.
"None of us are mad at the MIAA or anything like that, but I was definitely a little bit disappointed."
The tournament's director Kevin Riordan told the Worcester Telegram & Gazette that he plans to personally purchase a trophy for Nash.
WHAT HAS GENDER TO DO WITH THIS?
If everyone plays the same tees, it doesn't matter if you're a girl or boy. Lowest score wins period.
BRITTANY LINCICOME, two-time Major winner, weighing in on Twitter.
Ciolino, who was awarded the champion's trophy, offered his to Nash but she declined to accept it.
The rule has baffled those in the golfing fraternity.
"It's 2017. This rule sounds like it was created in 1917," T.J. Auclair wrote for PGA.com.
Several golf professionals, including two-time Major winner Brittany Lincicome, weighed in on Twitter.
"This is infuriating. If everyone plays the same tees, it doesn't matter if you're a girl or boy. Lowest score wins period," wrote the 2009 and 2015 ANA Inspiration champion.
Nash is hopeful that the uproar will lead to change.
"I feel like this has the potential to change something," she told the Boston Herald.
"Maybe if the higher-ups start noticing it, too."