WALKING to the 16th tee in the second round of the Hawksworth Trophy, the tournament leader, Tom Broxup, had a simple piece of counting to do – namely add one more shot to his score on the 15th hole than he had hoped for after missing a short birdie putt.
An overheard conversation then meant that he had some more complex calculations to perform before teeing it up three holes from home at The Bradford, as the Cookridge Hall player explains.
“I heard someone shout to one of their mates, saying what score was in,” says Broxup.
“Hearing that was everything I go against because I always just try to play the best that I can do and ignore what others are doing.
“But I walked to the next tee doing the maths, and worked out I was leading by one.”
The information might have fazed some players, but not Broxup. After all, this is a man who recently completed a district calendar grand slam, which made him the first player to hold all four Leeds Union major trophies at the same time.
“On the 16th tee I went through all my usual pre-shot routine, my breathing and everything, and I made birdie so it was a nice cruise in from there,” says the 19-year-old.
“I hit a drive down the right-hand side, a mid iron to about 15ft and rolled in the putt. It was one of those situations where I could either crumble or thrive off it.
“As a junior, so many times when I wanted to shoot a particular score I never did it because I was so focused on that score. But when you just focus on one shot at a time – controlling everything that you can control – you’re actually fine.”
Even missing the chance of a further birdie at 17, where he three-putted after reaching the par-5 hole in two, could not prevent him winning the latest Yorkshire Order of Merit event by two ahead of the next competition in the series, the Woodthorpe Trophy at Wakefield today.
Broxup now leads the overall standings from Ilkley’s Jack Lampkin, who followed his win in the Raywell Classic at Hessle with third place at The Bradford. Pike Hills’ Martin Brown ran Broxup closest in his first Order of Merit event of the season.
Broxup’s margin of victory in the Hawksworth Trophy would have been even greater had he managed to complement his fine approach play with a better conversion rate on the greens.
“I hit it close and had so many chances inside 15ft, but I only converted a few of them,” he recalls, adding, “but then I made a couple of nice eagles, one at the 17th in the first round and one at the ninth in the second.”
The latter repaired the damage caused by a double bogey at the third hole in his afternoon round that might have destabilised him.
A sudden change of wind direction had meant he went long with his tee shot at the par-3 hole – “a hole where you cannot afford to be long”.
But he put it behind him to add the Hawksworth Trophy to the impressive quartet of Leeds grand slam silverware – the Rippon-Swaine Salver, the Leslie H Bakes Salver, the Oliver Swithenbank Trophy and the Leeds amateur stroke play championship.
“It is how you react to bad situations that show you what kind of player you are,” he says.
“You can either learn from them or make them ruin you.
“Two holes later I was just in the rough by a couple of yards and I caught a flier and my approach must have cleared the green by about 20 yards.
“I was looking at the chip thinking, ‘this is really tough’, but I flopped it up to about eight feet and holed it. For me that was the real change.
“I could easily have gone three over there for the round, but I made that up and down and then birdie at the next and suddenly the win was all back on.”