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Trans golfer Hailey Davidson fights to join LPGA

Hailey Davidson is vying to become the first transgender golfer to earn a Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) Tour card — despite facing a furious backlash from critics who believe that she has an unfair biological advantage.

Davidson, 29, played two strong rounds at the LPGA Qualifying School in Palm Springs, California, over the weekend, shooting a 70 on Thursday, followed by a 76 the next day, Fox News Digital reported.

LPGA rules dictate that any player who shoots under 88 in all three rounds will earn a 2023 Epson Tour Status, which is the qualifying tour for the LPGA Tour.

The top 100 players will move on to Stage II in October.

Davidson, from Scotland, began hormone treatments in 2015 -- the last year she competed as a man.
Davidson, from Scotland, began hormone treatments in 2015 — the last year she competed as a man.
Instagram / @haileydgolf

Davidson made history by becoming the first trans golfer to win a professional tournament — and the second to play in the first stage of the LPGA Qualifying School, following in the footsteps of Bobbi Lancaster who tried the same in 2013.

But Davidson’s push to join the LPGA Tour has been blasted by elite tennis coach Judy Murray, the mother of former world number one Andy Murray.

“No. Not fair at all,” Judy Murray tweeted on Saturday. “Protect women’s sport. Listen to the facts, the scientists and the medics. This is wrong.”

LPGA removed its “female at birth” requirement in 2010, opening the door to trans athletes — provided that they have undergone hormone treatment and gender reassignment surgery.

Davidson– who was born in Scotland but currently lives in Florida — began hormone therapy in 2015, the same year she last competed as a male at a US Open local qualifying in the Sunshine State.

Davidson underwent gender reassignment surgery last year and said she now hits the ball 15 mph slower.

Davidson said she hits a ball 15 mph slower now, and argued that her critics are speaking out against her because they don't like trans people.
Davidson said she hits a ball 15 mph slower now, and argued that her critics are speaking out against her because they don’t like trans people.
Instagram / @haileydgolf

“I guess that’s what frustrates me the most. If I play bad, then people will feel justified, ‘Oh well, she played bad and wasn’t good enough.,’” she told GolfWeek in 2021. “If I do anything good, it won’t be because of the fact that I put my whole life into this — it would be because I’m trans.”

In an interview on the podcast “Like It is” in July, Davidson talked openly about the transphobia she has encountered.

“I’ve seen that it’s not about protecting women’s sports or me having an advantage, it’s just that you don’t like trans people,” she said.

Top tennis coach Judy Murray, Andy Murray's mother, argued that allowing Davidson to compete against cisgender women is "wrong" and "not fair."
Top tennis coach Judy Murray, Andy Murray’s mother, argued that allowing Davidson to compete against cisgender women is “wrong” and “not fair.”
AFP via Getty Images

Davidson, who is competing in a field of 310 women eyeing one of the coveted spots on the LPGA Tour, is currently tied at 59th place.

Davidson has received support from World Golf Hall of Fame member Laura Davies, who argued that if the 29-year-old qualifies to compete under LPGA’s rules, then it’s “game on.”

The debate over Davidson’s participation in a women’s sport echoes the controversy surrounding Lia Thomas, the transgender UPenn swimmer who made history in March when she won the women’s 500-yard freestyle at the NCAA championships.

In June, the swimming world’s governing body, FINA, effectively barred trans athletes like Thomas from competing in all major events — including the Olympics — by ruling that anyone who has not begun transitioning by the age of 12 or the onset of puberty, will not be allowed to race against biological females.

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