Mckenzie’s pizza the action

Billy Mckenzie. Picture: Andrew Griffin
Billy Mckenzie. Picture: Andrew Griffin
Scott Gregory. Picture: Andrew Griffin

Gregory misses out

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Billy Mckenzie revealed his confidence has been boosted, despite swapping turkey and all the trimmings for a takeaway pizza.

The 20-year-old, from Rowlands Castle, is in the second year of a golf scholarship at William Woods University in Missouri but opted against a return to the UK over Christmas to play in The Patriot All-America in Arizona.

That decision paid off with a top-20 finish against the cream of the emerging talent from the US collegiate scene.

But while there are sacrifices to be made for anyone attempting to make it in their chosen sport, Mckenzie went above and beyond as he was holed up alone in a Florida hotel room while the rest of us tucked into our Christmas dinners.

Mckenzie said: ‘It was very hard not seeing family and living in a hotel room over Christmas.

‘But I did what was best for my golf. And I’m glad I did it as it’s given me some confidence about how good I am, even though I didn’t play that great.

‘I went to Florida to practice and on Christmas Day I ate Dominos pizza and practiced my putting in my room – I was just amazed Dominos was open!’

After his meat feast and some work on his putting stroke, Mckenzie did at least allow himself a bit of Christmas TV.

He said: ‘They had golf movies on all day on the Golf Channel like Tin Cup and The Greatest Game Ever Played so I watched a bit of that. It wasn’t that bad.

‘Sometimes you have to make a few sacrifices.

‘I’m looking to move up the rankings this year and am really dedicated to win the National Championship with an amazing team we have.

‘But playing that Florida tournament made me realise I can compete with these guys and, with some hard work, I might be able to make it in this game.’

The left-hander, who turned out for Hampshire during his summer break last year, is keen to continue his practice schedule.

He added: ‘The weather is about minus four here.

‘So I’m doing some work with Trackman, to analyse my swing and work with the numbers.

‘Then we start our season in March in Florida.’