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The most successful college golfer in University of Washington history has been out of school for only six months but is living the life of a retiree in Palm Desert, Calif.

“I live the life of a 60-year-old retired person,” joked Brock Mackenzie, a June graduate and two-time All-American. “I’m down in the desert. I play golf during the day. I have a drink with dinner. I sit and watch TV and then I go to bed. And then I get up and do it again the following day. I kind of feel bad — my parents should be doing what I’m doing.”

“I’m friends with older people,” Mackenzie continued. “I live the life of older people. I swear, I’m aging faster than any 23-year-old should.”

Mackenzie is sharpening his game for the upcoming year after suffering the disappointment of failing to get through the second stage of PGA qualifying school in the fall.

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A third-round 76 was his undoing and prevented him from advancing to the third and final stage.

“It wasn’t the best time to have a bad day,” he said.

The Yakima native turned pro at the U.S. Open and played in two other PGA events plus a Nationwide Tour event last summer. He earned $7,387 on the PGA Tour and $1,704 on the Nationwide Tour and more from various special tournaments. A 3½-year endorsement deal he signed with Titleist when he turned pro has helped cover many of his living expenses.

Mackenzie is preparing to play the Spanos Tour, a mini-tour in California from February through April, and might try to get a Canadian Tour card. He also will try to qualify on Mondays for selected PGA and Nationwide Tour events.

“I want to get in as many competitive rounds as I can and try to improve as much as possible so when I get out on tour I can stay out there,” he said. “Obviously, I wasn’t quite ready this year.”

Mackenzie won four college tournaments and owns the best three-season stroke averages in UW history, including last year’s record 70.58. The long hitter shot a 12-under 60 at the Eugene Country Club in the 2003 Oregon Duck Invitational.

Although Mackenzie failed to make it past the second stage of Q School, he attended the third stage at nearby La Quinta, Calif., as a spectator and rooted for ex-Husky Rob Rashell, who earned his card by finishing second. Their years at the UW never overlapped, but they know each other.

“I went out and watched and knew that I could compete with those guys,” Mackenzie said of the field. “It was frustrating, but I think it was good for me to go out there and kind of torture myself and realize that I need to do some things to get where I want to be.”

Craig Smith