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Dumb rule denies high school golfer Emily Nash her trophy because she’s a girl

Emily Nash won a Massachusetts boys’ high school golf tournament by four shots but a rule, now under fire from LPGA players and others, prohibited her from getting the trophy.

Brittany Altomare may be half a world away, vying for the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia trophy, but the Massachusetts native took time to lobby for the awarding of another piece of hardware to a female high school golfer who beat the boys in a recent high school tournament.

Altomare, who knows a thing or two about teeing it up with the boys, used Twitter to take issue with an antiquated Bay State rule that denied Emily Nash the prize for coming in first in a Central Mass. Division 3 boys’ event because she lacks a Y chromosome. And oh, yeah, she captured medalist honors by four strokes after playing from the same tees and carding a 3-over 75 as her male counterparts.

Altomare knows whereof she tweets. The third-year LPGA pro played for her high school’s boys’ golf squad and — like Nash — did so from the same tees as her teammates.

“If I won a match or qualified for districts or states,” Altomare texted to the Worcester Telegram’s Bill Doyle, “there was no excuse. I won [or] qualified fair and square.”

The issue, as Doyle pointed out, is that Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) regulations ban girls from competing as individuals in the boys sectionals and states, which take place in the fall, because they can play in the girls’ contests in the spring.

Nash, who said she knew before she played that she was forbidden from advancing to the state tilt as an individual, learned afterward that she could not earn medalist honors.

“So I was definitely disappointed,” Nash, whose high school does not have a girls’ golf team, told Doyle, “but I understand that there are rules in place. 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.”

Nash’s plight has definitely gone viral, with such national figures as UConn women’s basketball coach Geno Auriemma and Curtis Strange weighing in.

The uproar caused the MIAA to issue a statement Thursday afternoon reiterating the rule prohibiting girls from playing in the boys’ games as individuals. Perhaps even more offensive than the intransigence of the organization over the set-in-stone rule that was implemented in 2015 was the MIAA declining to call Nash by her name, instead citing “Lunenberg’s female golfer.”

To quote two-time U.S. Open champion Strange — “Really?”