Golfer becomes the first transgender woman to win the coveted Ladies PGA Tour Card

Golfer becomes the first transgender woman to win the coveted Ladies PGA Tour Card

A female golfer is poised to become the first transgender woman to earn a Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) tour card after beating the competition in the first two qualifying rounds.

Hailey Davidson, 29, had a strong result in the first two rounds of Stage 1 of the LPGA and Epson Tour Qualifying School.

Davidson, a Scotsman by birth who lives in Florida, shot a 70 in the first round on Thursday and a 76 in the second on Friday at Shadow Ridge Golf Club in Palm Desert, Calif., Fox News reported.

Under LPGA rules, any player who scores under 88 after all three rounds will be awarded 2023 Epson Tour status, the official qualifying tour for the LPGA.

Hailey Davidson, 29, is on track to become the first transgender woman to earn an LPGA tour card after successful performances in the first two days of Stage I qualifiers

Davidson, pictured practicing before the start of the tournament, shot a 70 in the first round on Thursday and a 76 in the second round on Friday at Shadow Ridge Golf Club in Palm Desert, Calif. The weekend will see the third round

Davidson, pictured practicing before the start of the tournament, shot a 70 in the first round on Thursday and a 76 in the second round on Friday at Shadow Ridge Golf Club in Palm Desert, Calif. The weekend will see the third round

Under LPGA rules, any player who shoots under 88 after all three rounds earns 2023 Epson Tour status, the official qualifying tour for the LPGA, a goal Davidson has been working toward after completing their transition in 2021

Under LPGA rules, any player who shoots under 88 after all three rounds earns 2023 Epson Tour status, the official qualifying tour for the LPGA, a goal Davidson has been working toward after completing their transition in 2021

Competing against 310 other women, Davidson is tied for 59th place and seems well positioned to progress through Stage 1 and advance to Stage 2 against the top 100 in October.

The LPGA Tour had already abolished their “female at birth” requirement in 2010.

Davidson last competed as a male golfer in 2015, after which she began hormone therapy treatments and underwent a gender reassignment surgery in 2021.

“I know I have what it takes to be with professional golfers on the LPGA/PGA/Champions Tour over the past few years and remain very competitive with all of them,” Davidson said in 2021 while trying to fundraise to collect for the qualifying school.

“While I know I have the talent and mental game to make a career out of playing, the initial costs of tournaments and practice expenses are really holding me back.”

Despite failing to qualify that year, Davidson remained competitive at other tournaments, finishing a match just three shots behind 2010 US Women’s Open champion Paula Creamer.

Davidson spent most of his time competing on the East Coast Women’s Pro Golf Tour and winning three of the last five games before summer qualifiers.

Although the best male golfers can typically hit the ball farther than their female counterparts, Davidson claims that the majority of the criticism of her participation in the women’s round is transphobic rather than genuine dialogue about the sport.

Davidson said she now hits the ball 15 mph slower after her move.

“I’ve seen that it’s not about protecting women’s sports or that I have an advantage, it’s just that you don’t like trans people,” Davidson said of her critics when speaking on the Like It Is podcast .

“It’s very sad that it matters. I’ve learned that over the past few months.”

Davidson last competed as a male golfer in 2015, after which she began hormone therapy treatments.  She has competed in the East Coast Women's Pro Golf Tour

Davidson last competed as a male golfer in 2015, after which she began hormone therapy treatments. She has competed in the East Coast Women’s Pro Golf Tour

Davidson said she now hits the ball 15 mph slower after her move, adding that she doesn't have a huge advantage over other golfers

Davidson said she now hits the ball 15 mph slower after her move, adding that she doesn’t have a huge advantage over other golfers

Davidson claims that the majority of criticism of her participation in the women's panel is transphobic rather than genuine dialogue about the sport

Davidson claims that the majority of criticism of her participation in the women’s panel is transphobic rather than genuine dialogue about the sport

Davidson’s anticipated first-round success comes amid a culture war in America over regulations allowing transgender athletes to compete in women’s sports.

Although professional bodies like the LPGA and PGA make their own rules and regulations, debates have erupted across the country about athletes attending high school and college.

The theme was the focus this year of UPenn swimmer Lia Thomas, who began competing in women’s collegiate swimming a year and a half after her transfer.

Thomas continued to break several women’s records, much to the dismay of some of her teammates, and the NCAA and US swimming associations have been criticized for allowing Thomas to compete.

By the summer, 18 states had banned transgender students from participating in girls’ sports.

A notable example is Ohio, which passed a law requiring students accused of being transgender to produce a medical certificate detailing their sexual anatomy, testosterone levels, and genetic makeup.

In New Jersey, Republican lawmakers proposed the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act, which would require student-athletes to verify the nature of their genitals in order to compete.

The bill’s sponsor, Senator Michael Testa, compared genital screening to random drug tests given to college athletes and said he foresees no problems with angry parents accusing girls of being transgender.