Girl’s game not par for the course

IRON MOUNTAIN – Mackenzie Gallagher has tamed some of the U.P.’s toughest golf courses this summer.

During the U.P. Golf Association junior tour, she blitzed daunting TimberStone Golf Course in Iron Mountain with a one-over par 37 for nine holes.

“Mac” also carded a 37 at Terrace Bluff Golf Club in Wells, posted a 79 at played Portage Lake in Houghton, and wrapped up her U.P. junior tourney schedule with an 82 for 18 holes at The Crossings at Sault Ste. Marie.

By the way, she’s just 11 years old. Ninety-nine percent of the golf world wouldn’t mind a 37 for nine at TimberStone.

Mackenzie, daughter of Eun Su and Patrick, picked up a golf club for the first time about five years ago in Auburn Hills. She won her first U.P. tourney at the 2010 Crystal Falls’ Humungous Fungus Fest.

“She started on the range and picked up the game real quick,” said her dad, citing the short game as her strengths for the time being. “She loves chipping and putting.”

Mackenzie, according to her dad, has won about 30 tournaments in her brief golf career. She has never finished outside of the top 10.

“Her dream is to play in the LPGA (pro ranks),” said her dad, adding that college golf is also a goal.

Mackenzie spent the 2013-14 school year at West Iron County Schools. Iron River’s snow skiing and snowboarding appealed to the youngster, who also calls the Orlando, Fla., area home. She did most of her skiing and snowboarding at Pine Mountain, taking lessons in both with Amy Johnson.

She has worked with TimberStone pro Joe Rizzo along with a coach in Florida. Mackenzie spent most of this summer playing TimberStone and George Young Recreational Complex in Iron River.

Her grandparents, Barbara and Jerry, live in Iron River. Jerry is a member of the U.P. Sports Hall of Fame, starring for the Iron River High School football team and coaching St. Ignace High School to great success.

Mackenzie’s golf travels over the years have taken her to Pinehurst, NC, challenging for top honors at the U.S. Kids Golf Worlds. Pinehurst served as the U.S. Open men’s and women’s sites this year.

Mackenzie isn’t all golf. She also skis, snowboards, swims, surfs and plays tennis. The straight “A” student missed the U.P. junior tour finals to attend a music camp on scholarship near Muskegon. Mackenzie has played in orchestras since age 7.

“She’s very talented with the violin,” said Patrick, a St. Ignace High School Athletic Hall of Famer who teaches English on-line to Korean students.