Stateside return sees McKenzie victorious

Billy McKenzie   Picture: Sarah Standing

Billy McKenzie Picture: Sarah Standing

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Billy McKenzie quickly put the disappointment of Hampshire finishing runners-up to Yorkshire at last month’s English County Finals behind him, with a double victory for his William Woods University team at his first US College event back in the States.

The 21-year-old Rowlands Castle member stormed to a four-shot victory at the Fulton Medical Centre Invitational.

McKenzie finished first thanks to a second-round 69, which gave him a total of two-under par, following his opening 73.

His Yorkshire-based team-mate Dave Houlding was second, four shots behind his Hampshire colleague.

The left-hander has enjoyed spectacular success in his first three seasons Stateside, winning the Phil Mickelson Award in his first year as the best Freshman in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics, as well as being named in the NAIA All-America first team.

He topped that by being nominated for the Jack Nicklaus Award two years in a row and was ranked as the fourth best individual in the NAIA rankings for 2015-16.

While William Woods have won their AMC Conference two years in a row to make the national finals, the big title McKenzie craves has eluded him.

But even after a winning start this month, he is far from satisfied with his success on the other side of the pond.

McKenzie said: ‘It didn’t feel like a win – the scoring wasn’t very good for Tanglewood, our home course at all. Finishing bogey, bogey in the second round is never nice either.

‘But it is another win and I am looking to be William Woods’ all-time holder of individual wins at the end of my final year. I think I need another two or three.’

McKenzie and his team-mates were back at the Illinois PGA Tour venue TPC Deere Run this week for the NAIA Preview.

He added: ‘We all desperately want to win the National Championship but the team is not as strong on paper as in my first three years, so we are going to have work hard to stand a chance.

‘I have yet to play well at the finals, so I need to step up.’

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