By Chief Editor
A golfer is poised to become the first transgender man to earn a Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) tour card after beating much of her competition in the first two qualifying rounds.
Hailey Davidson, 29, had a strong finish in the first two rounds of the first stage of the LPGA and Epson Tour Qualifying School in Palm Springs this week.
Davidson, a Scotland native who lives in Florida, shot a 70 in the first round at the Shadow Ridge Golf Club in Palm Desert California, on Thursday, and hit a 76 during the second round on Friday, Fox News reported.
According to the LPGA’s rules, any player who shoots under 88 after all three rounds will earn a 2023 Epson Tour Status, the official qualifying tour for the LPGA.
Competing against 310 other women, Davidson is tied at 59th place and appears to be in a good position to pass the first stage and move onto Stage II in October against the top 100 players.
The LPGA Tour had removed its ‘female at birth’ requirement back in 2010.
Davidson last competed as a male golfer in 2015, after which, he began hormone therapy treatments and underwent gender reassignment surgery in 2021.
‘I know I have what it takes from being around professional golfers on the LPGA/PGA/Champions Tour over the recent years and staying very competitive with them all,’ Davidson said in 2021 while trying to fundraise for qualifying school.
‘While I know that I have the talent and mental game to make a career out of playing, the initial cost of tournaments and practice expenses is what truly holds me back.’
Although the top male golfers can typically hit the ball further than their female counterparts, Davidson claims that the majority of criticism about her competing in the women’s circuit is transphobic rather than a real dialogue over the sport.
Davidson said that after her transition, he now hits the ball 15 mph slower.
‘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,’ Davidson said of her detractors while speaking on the Like It Is podcast.
‘It’s very sad that that’s what it comes down to. In the last couple of months, that’s what I’ve come to learn.’
Although professional bodies like the LPGA and PGA set up their own rules and regulations, debates have erupted across the country over athletes competing in high school and college.
The issue took center stage this year with UPenn swimmer Lia Thomas, who began competing in women’s collegiate swimming a year and a half after transitioning.
Thomas went on to break several women’s records, much to the dismay of several of her teammates, and the NCAA and US Swimming bodies were criticized for allowing Thomas to compete.
Professional competitive swimming association FINA has since effectively banned trans women from competing in the sport. By the summer, 18 states had outlawed transgender students from competing in girls’ sports.