Mackenzie brothers on a roll

Click to follow
Nick Faldo would not be aware of this but he is responsible for persuading Iain Mackenzie to make his daily bread in a bakery rather than go for the serious dough in professional golf.

Twenty years ago, Mackenzie played with the 18-year-old Faldo in the first two rounds of the British Youths Championship at Pannal in Yorkshire and he did not like what he saw. "It frightened me," he said. "I realised that even when I was playing my best golf, I wasn't in the same game."

While Faldo, who won the British Youths that year, went on to fame, glory and megastar status, Mackenzie joined the family bakery at Hillsborough which is within pancake throwing distance of the Sheffield Wednesday football ground, Hillsborough. When his father, Laurie, left the RAF, he joined Wednesday as a left-half before opening the bakery 45 years ago.

Iain's younger brother, Malcolm, also worked in the bakery before turning professional in 1980, and yesterday the Mackenzies progressed to the semi-finals of the Sunningdale Foursomes. Iain, who is 40, has a handicap of one and plays at the Hallamshire club. Has he any regrets about not turning pro? Plenty, but at least the bakery, where he finishes work by midday, leaves him plenty of time to play golf.

In the quarter-finals over the Old Course, on a glorious afternoon, Iain and Malcolm, whose career earnings on the European Tour amount to £650,000, were five up with six holes to play against Sammy Little and Gary Clark, at which point they were four under par. Little, 19, from Moor Park, and Clark, 23, from Pinner, who has been on a five-year golf scholarship in Texas, won the next three holes with birdies but were closed out 2 and 1.

It seemed inevitable that the brothers would meet Robert Goldie and Richard Walker in today's semi-finals but the sudden-death conquerors of Sam Torrance and Bernard Gallacher, having lived by the sword for most of the tournament, finally died by it. They survived the fourth round at the 19th in the morning after Goldie's great escape at the 18th. Seemingly dead and buried in a bunker - Walker had left their third shot in the sand - Goldie holed out.

They again went to extra holes in the quarter-final against Jamie Little and Greg Evans. After drawing level at the 17th, Goldie and Walker, from Wearside, should have wrapped it up at the last but, while the other pair were in trouble, Goldie found a bunker from the middle of the fairway and the hole was halved in fives. Goldie, after driving into the trees on the right at the 19th, made a five-foot putt for a half but their nerve-jangling campaign came to an end at the 20th. In five matches they had played 95 holes.

Thus today, Jamie Little, the 17-year-old brother of Sammy, will have a chance of upholding the family name against the Mackenzie brothers in the first semi-final. The winners will probably meet the European Tour partnership of Richard Boxall and Derrick Cooper, who won the title three years ago.