LEBANON, Ohio — Ali Green stepped up to the 18th hole on Wednesday, with a chance to beat last year’s tournament champion.
It was the first round of match play in the 111th Tony Blom Metropolitan Amateur Championship, and Green was matched up with Kyle Schmidt, the tournament’s top-seeded player.
“It was nerve-wracking,” Green said. “I live for stuff like that though.”
This story is not about how she finished the day, though.
It’s about the fact that she played in the first place.
“It’s a parent’s dream to be able to watch your kids succeed and be role models,” said Ali’s father, Steve Green.
Traditionally known as Cincinnati’s men’s amateur golf championship, no woman has ever played in the tournament.
“Every year I was like, ‘No, I’m not doing it,’” Green said. “I just didn’t feel like I could even make match play.”
This year, she finally decided to ask if she would be allowed to play.
“We’ve got all kinds of policies and procedures in place, and of course with COVID-19, we’ve got new policies and procedures in place,” said Todd Johnson, the executive director of the Greater Cincinnati Golf Association, which puts on the tournament each year.
One thing they did not find any policy against was allowing a female to play.
“It wasn’t much of a search," Johnson said. "We just wanted to make sure we didn’t have anything in place that would prohibit her from playing. When we didn’t find that, we were full-go on letting her enter.”
The only real condition was that she would have to play from the men’s tees – farther from the hole than she’s used to.
“It was a really good match,” Green's opponent, Kyle Schmidt, said. “She came out and made me bring my best stuff.”
The distance of the tee shots didn’t matter.
Green was tied with Schmidt heading to the 18th tee box.
“It’s a scary feeling to know that one bad shot can make the whole match go away,” Green said.
“[Hole] 18 is a tough tee shot, because the water is on the left. The wind was blowing left. Everything was asking for you to hit it in the water,” Schmidt said.
Ali’s tee shot was fine, but her following shot did end up in the water.
“Just taking the defending champ to 18 [holes] was a lot better than I expected,” Green said.
People will forget her approach on the 18th hole, but nobody will forget what she proved by playing.
“Just because we’re women doesn’t mean we can’t compete and be good," Green said. "I don’t want anyone to think they can’t go out and do something."