MA Student denied opportunity to compete

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 12, 2007

LINDEN &8212; To qualify for the Alabama Independent School Association&8217;s State Golf Tournament, Blain Etheridge, a senior at Marengo Academy, had to have four scores from golf matches during his season, one of which had to be below 90.

He and teammate Larkin Sumerlin managed to make the cut during a match against Tristan and Monroe Academy a their home course at the Linden Country Club. Etheridge, who said he usually shoots in the high 80s, said he was excited about attending the state tournament and just wanted to do well at the event.

He and his teammate even went to the course where the tournament would be played, the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail in Greenville, prior to the tournament to get acclimated to the course. But when Etheridge showed up to play the day of the tournament he was told by event officials that he would not be able to participate.

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Blain was held out of the tournament because of a rule for the association stating players were barred from using golf carts or caddies during play. Blain, however, has cerebral palsy and, while he can swing a club pretty well, cannot manage to walk 18 holes of golf carrying a bag.

Though the association has apologies Blain won&8217;t get another chance to compete on the state level to make up for the slipup. Since he is a senior he will be moving on from the world of high school athletics.