Teenager Jay Mackenzie will tee up in the Isuzu Queensland Open at Brisbane Golf Club determined to go as far as his talent will take him.
Just how far that is, he is not certain.
But if he is still playing come the weekend, he plans to give it everything he has to not waste a golden opportunity to experience what it’s like playing in a professional tournament.
Like so many young hopefuls before him, Jay travels around the country playing everywhere he can to gain experience.
He either travels with his father, David, in his Kombi Van or in his grandfather’s Isuzu Truck and six-berth Winnebago.
Earlier this year he was member of the NSW team which tied with South Australia as joint-winners of the Australian Boys Interstate played at Tasmania’s Augustine Golf Club.
He also finished fourth overall in the Australian Boys Amateur.
Jay will have his Ballina Golf Club Assistant Teaching Professional Chris Hawkins, on his bag to help keep him calm, although he describes himself as being “pretty level headed and not a club thrower”.
Jay’s favourite club is his putter, and his favourite player, you guessed it, is Tiger Woods. He has already bagged three hole-in-ones, the latest knocking down a 9-iron into the cup at Sydney’s Northbridge course just recently.
It’s a big ask for a 17-year-old to step out against seasoned professionals and go shot for shot with them.
But Jay believes he can compete if he plays to his capabilities, having shot 65 three times around Ballina and under par at many course around NSW and Queensland.
He already has a bit of a golfing pedigree, being coached initially by his grandfather Gerry Brown who also coached his aunty, Geraldine Brown, who played on the European Ladies Tour before retiring to have a family.
Jay is now trained by two-time Queensland Teaching Coach of the Year Richard Woodhouse who will most likely join “camp Mackenzie” this week with his dad and his two brothers along with mum, Roz, on the weekend.
Up until now, the highlight of Jay’s budding golfing career is sharing in the interstate teams win recently in Tasmania, but he is very excited about the challenge of testing himself in the Isuzu Queensland Open.
“I just want to play and see how good I can get,” Jay said.
“I think I can become a golf pro ….. why not?
”Making the cut would make me happy but I don’t want to put a number or limit on what I can do, I want to go out and play my best and see how good that is against the pros.
“I’ve got two arms and two legs like the rest of them.”
Jay hasn’t had too many bad experiences on the golf course although he recalled a time he was playing a New South Wales Golf course and used his golf club to flick a big cane toad away from his ball so he could play his shot.
“I was standing over the ball at the back of the green near the rough and right behind me was this big cane toad,” he said.
“I flicked it away back towards the bush and this big red belly snake struck from the bushes and grabbed it a few metres away from me.
“I jumped back it was that close it just went “bang” and scared the hell out of me.
”I remember thinking it could have been my leg’.”
Jay won’t have to worry about any snakes at The Brisbane Golf club, at least not the deadly one.
But he may have to negotiate a few snaking putts on the slick greens.