Mackenzie's Experience Worth The Wait

By Craig Smith, USGA

Bandon, Ore. – Three years ago Paige Mackenzie of Yakima, Wash., wondered if she would ever be able to play the game she loved.

She didn’t swing a golf club for 10 months as she waited and hoped that time and non-invasive treatments would fix the stress fractures in her lower back. She tried to play, but the pain had gotten too severe.

                                                                                    

Meanwhile, she was supportive of her older brother, Brock, who was enjoying success. First, he was an All-American at the same school, the University of Washington. Then, he was named to the USA’s Walker Cup team, where he was 3-0 in the 2003 Match played at Ganton Golf Club in England.

As Paige Mackenzie's amateur career comes to an end, she has no regrets about waiting to turn pro so she could play in the Curtis Cup. (John Mummert/USGA)

“I was thinking about Curtis Cup right then because I could see how much fun he was having,” said Paige after winning her last match to help the USA to an 11½ to 6½ victory. “And, Oh my, this was unbelievable. This whole experience was something I’ll never forget. This was exhausting. I had so much fun.”

Mackenzie, now 23, was 2-0 in singles and 1-1 in her foursomes matches (alternate shot), where she was paired with Amanda Blumenherst of Scottsdale, Ariz. She had the low score of any singles match, on Saturday, when she shot 4 under par, with the normal concessions for match play.

“I got the points (three), but I lost one,” said Paige. “He (Brock) didn’t lose any matches.”

She was an accomplished golfer in high school and already had shown promise as one of the top players for the University of Washington. But here she was sitting idle for almost 10 months. Finally, in October 2003, she was ready to get back into the swing of things, and followed her brother to the Walker Cup.

“She probably had more fun at Ganton than Brock did, “said her father Hugh Mackenzie, who was a collegiate swimmer at Washington State. “She’s wanted to do this ever since Brock made the Walker Cup team in 2003. We didn’t talk with her about this at all. This was her decision to remain an amateur for this chance.”

Along the comeback trail she earned first team All-America honors in 2005-06 after finishing eighth at the NCAA Division I Championship. She also qualified for the last two U.S. Women’s Opens, and finished tied for 13th in 2005.

Here in Bandon this weekend, she had more than two dozen supporters walking the links-like Pacific Dunes course wearing “Team Mackenzie” T-shirts.

“It was great to have the support from my family and friends,” said Mackenzie.

One of those supporters was her Washington coach Mary Lou Mulflur.

“I wouldn’t have missed this,” said Mulflur, who drove eight hours Saturday night to watch Mackenzie play twice on Sunday. “Right now I’m in denial that she has graduated. If we look at each other too long, we start to tear up. She has been a delight to coach.”

After the Curtis Cup, Mackenzie will attempt to qualify for a professional tournament in the Northwest and then compete in the upcoming U.S. Women’s Amateur in early August at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club outside Portland, Ore. After that, she’ll turn professional and take her chances.

However, this weekend in red, white and blue was well worth the wait.

Craig Smith is the USGA’s Director of Media Relations. E-mail him with questions or comments at csmith@usga.org.

 

 

Curtis Cup Match

PAR AND YARDAGE – The Pacific Dunes Course at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort is set up at 6,217/6,221 yards and par is 36-35—71.

GOLF COURSE ARCHITECT – Tom Doak designed Bandon Dunes’ Pacific Dunes Course, which opened in 2001.

BANDON DUNES GOLF RESORT (PACIFIC DUNES COURSE) HOLE-BY-HOLE: Total: 6,217/6,221 yards, par 71

SCHEDULE OF PLAY – On Saturday, July 29, and Sunday, July 30, there will be three foursomes matches (18 holes each) each morning and six singles matches (18 holes each) each afternoon.

Starting Times –
Saturday:  7:30 a.m. for foursomes, 1:30 p.m. for singles
Sunday:  7:30 a.m. for foursomes, 1:30 p.m. for singles

WHAT IS THE CURTIS CUP MATCH? – The Curtis Cup Match is contested by women amateur golfers, one team from the United States of America (USA) and one team from England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales (GB&I). The teams consist of not more than eight players and a captain. The Match is conducted every two years, alternately in the United States and Great Britain/Ireland.

THE FOURSOME – Foursomes is a match where two players compete against two other players in alternate shot format, with each side playing just one ball.

SCORING – A victory in each match scores one point.  In the event a match goes 18 holes without a decision, one-half point is awarded to each side.

OPENING AND CLOSING CEREMONIES – The flag raising ceremony will be held at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort at 6 p.m. Friday (PDT). The closing ceremony will be held immediately following play Sunday. Both events are open to the public.

TELEVISION COVERAGE – The Golf Channel will air two hours of Curtis Cup coverage, from 4 to 6 p.m. PDT each day.

ADMISSION – Admission is free of charge and spectators are encouraged to attend.

 

 

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