Huskie Star Looking to PGA Tour

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College CentralSEATTLE, Wash. -- Playing in a state where wet and windy weather often adds to the challenges of his sport, University of Washington golfer Brock Mackenzie has developed into a star with plans for the PGA Tour.
 
'My experience here has been awesome,' Mackenzie said. 'It's been fun to be able to play for the University of Washington. If I can shoot good numbers in the rain and the wind, I think I can play well when it's sunny and calm.'
 
A senior from Yakima, Mackenzie was recruited by Arizona, San Diego State and Texas A&M, where the weather is custom-made for golf, but he chose UW because he wanted to stay close to home and his parents. His younger sister, Paige, a sophomore, is a member of the Washington women's team.
 
Washington HuskiesThe decision has paid off handsomely for the Huskies and Mackenzie. He has developed into a college All-American who shot a 60 last year as well as winning all three of his matches as a member of the 2003 U.S. Walker Cup team.
 
As a junior, Mackenzie finished fifth in the NCAA championships and helped Washington to its second straight 11th place finish.
 
In 2002, he won the 2002 Pacific Coast Amateur championship in San Diego.
 
After winning the Husky Invitational in the fall, he was ranked No. 1 in Golfweek's collegiate rankings.
 
The 6-foot-3, 175-pound Mackenzie hits the golf ball 295-300 yards off the tee. He considers his driving his biggest strength although his ballstriking is solid, hitting 14 greens per round.
 
'It's just an absolute thrill to see him hit a golf ball,' said Huskies men's coach Matt Thurmond, a former Brigham Young University player. 'You just can't find anybody who hits it so well.'
 
The NCAA doesn't keep golf records except at the NCAA championships, but research done regarding NCAA men's golf low rounds showed that Mackenzie's 60 at the 2003 Oregon Duck Invitational at the Eugene Country Club tied for the lowest round by a collegian ever. Bryce Molder of Georgia Tech and Paul Casey of Arizona State also shot 60s, Molder in 2000 and Casey in 1999.
 
'It's going to be tough to beat that round,' Mackenzie said. 'I did everything good.'
 
Mackenzie says his three Walker Cup match-play wins as a member of the U.S. team paired against British and Irish players in Yorkshire, England, ranks right alongside his 60. His parents, Hugh and Caren Mackenzie, who are pharmacists in Yakima, were there.
 
'It was one of the best weeks of my life,' he said. 'It was a week I'll always remember.'
 
This year's NCAA championships will be held June 1-4 at The Homestead in Hot Springs, Va. He'd like to finish his college career with a triumph in college golf's biggest tournament.
 
'I've been close before,' he said. 'So hopefully this year maybe I can finish it off and have a good NCAA.'
 
Thurmond says Mackenzie doesn't have to win that tournament to be successful in his eyes.
 
'It would be a great finish to his career,' Thurmond said. 'But being a first-team All-American is more representative of a whole year than just one tournament.'
 
After Mackenzie finishes his college career and gets his bachelor's degree in economics, he plans to turn pro, possibly in June after trying to qualify as an amateur for the U.S. Open on June 17-20 in Southampton, N.Y. He's anxious to find out how his game stacks up with the best players in the world led by Tiger Woods.
 
'Tiger doesn't win every single tournament,' he said. 'He's human. I'm looking forward to being able to compete against him. If you're confident of your game, I think you're going to be able to compete.'
 
If Mackenzie has a shortcoming now, it's his game from '100 yards in,' but he said he's looking forward to working on his game full time.
 
'It's going to be nice just waking up and going to the golf course and hitting balls and practicing as much as I want and not have to worry about anything else,' Mackenzie said.
 
Beyond his physical skills, Thurmond said Mackenzie has the mental game necessary to make the pressure-packed putts with the big money on the line.
 
'Brock has the potential to be as good as anybody you see on the PGA Tour,' he said. 'That's not an exaggeration. It won't be long before you're watching Brock every Sunday playing in the biggest events. He's going to make us proud back in Washington.'