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Transsexual golfer gains ALPG membership
by Associated Press

SYDNEY, Australia (AP) - Transsexual golfer Mianne Bagger will be allowed membership in the Australian Ladies Professional Golf tour in a decision that ends the governing body's requirement for players to be female at birth.

Bagger, 37, who had a sex-change operation in 1995, qualified for next year's European women's tour earlier this month. The Danish-born, Australian-based golfer was given permission to apply for a place on the ALPG tour on Friday after a special general meeting of members.

The ALPG said Bagger will be allowed to compete in events like next February's ANZ Ladies Masters, a joint event on the European and Australian tours.

Australian regulations had previously stated that applicants for membership had to be "female at birth." That requirement had previously been omitted from the European tour bylaws.

"My ambition now is to pursue a professional career," Bagger said Friday.

"I had one main obstacle in this pursuit and that was a condition on entry forms stating a player had to be female at birth. The reason this is an issue is that I am also a woman with a transsexual background, and I have chosen to be open about it."

At Taranto, Italy, Bagger finished in a tie for ninth after four rounds of qualifying to acquire her card for the European tour. In March at the women's Australian Open, Bagger became the first transsexual to play in a pro golf tournament.

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