YELLS of ‘fore’ are commonplace on the golf course – but heading in to the recent Leeds amateur stroke play championship, Cookridge Hall GC’s Tom Broxup was the only player in with a shout of four major successes in one year.
Already in the 19-year-old’s possession were the Leeds Open championship trophy (the Rippon-Swaine Salver), the Leslie H Bakes Salver for being leading amateur at the Leeds Open, and the Oliver Swithenbank Trophy – presented by the Union’s first president in 1921 – for recording the lowest individual gross score over 36 holes at the First Division Team Championship.
Two rounds of 73 in the 34-hole stroke play championship at Howley Hall GC – the eighth hole was closed – completed a district calendar grand slam and made him the first player to hold all four trophies at the same time.
Broxup trailed home player Craig Watt by two shots after the morning round, but a score of 75 by the latter opened the way for Broxup to tie his aggregate of 146 and take the championship on a second round countback.
The pair will be seeded one and two for the amateur match play championship, which will be contested by the top 32 players at Howley Hall.
“It was a battle, I didn’t play my best,” said history-maker Broxup. “But when you’re not playing your best you have to find something within yourself, keep digging deep.
“It’s about just taking one shot at a time, trying to control everything you can control.
“You can control the way you think, the way you breathe, the way you walk – but you can’t control the rest of the field.
“If I do everything I can before I hit the ball, hopefully after (hitting) the ball everything will take care of itself.”
Broxup followed his sports psychologist Iain Highfield to Orlando, Florida when he left the UK for a job in the USA, and says he and coach Zach Parker have helped take his game to a new level during his time in college at Howey-in-the-Hills.
“It’s out in the middle of nowhere,” he laughed. “No distractions, it was golf, golf, golf – and a bit more golf.”
Highfield got Broxup a two-week trial during which he impressed sufficiently to be offered a year’s scholarship.
“Overall I felt the experience meant I developed more as a person,” he said.
“My golf game came on loads; the skills set that I have now compared to when I went out, the different shots that I can play, are so much better.
“But I’m also more developed as a person. Being in a different country on your own, travelling to tournaments – I went to places like Vegas, Texas – to experience all that was, I feel, a key point in my life.
“I feel like I’ve matured as a player too. As nice as it is to win, I know now that if I can learn and improve from every single round I play then eventually in the long run it is going to pay off.”
He had special praise for the support given to him by both parents, Andy and Michelle, and that of his brother Oliver and sister Ellie.
“They’re all very close and support me,” he said.
“Without them I wouldn’t even be close to where I am today. All my gratefulness and thanks go to them.”
Testing himself in the collegiate set-up proved a worthwhile experience, and he added: “I thought I was quite a good player, but when I went out to Florida and saw some of the players there, it was such an eye-opener to see how hard they work. It motivated me and made me practise harder.
“I’m glad it happened, as much as it was hard leaving my family, because we’re a very close family.”
Scarcroft’s Russell Young won the net championship with a 71 off 14 handicap.