COOKRIDGE hALL’S Tom Broxup will regain his amateur status on Saturday – and goes straight back into Yorkshire Inter-District Union action for second-placed Leeds the following day against neighbours Bradford at Bracken Ghyll.
It has been a long and frustrating wait for Broxup, who decided to return to the unpaid ranks within a couple of months of turning professional last year.
Leeds captain Nigel McKee has been keeping his fingers crossed that Broxup would return in time to play the statutory three matches required for him to be eligible for the end-of-season six-man inter-district team championship.
And Broxup will now meet that criterion with appearances against Bradford, East Riding on his home course on August 20, and Harrogate at Ilkley on September 3.
Last year, he became the first player in the union’s history to hold all four of their major titles at the same time – the Leeds Open (the Rippon-Swaine Salver), the Leslie H Bakes Salver, the Oliver Swithenbank Trophy, and the stroke play championship.
“Tom gets his amateur status back on Saturday,” said McKee. “I’m glad he can play the final three matches of the league because I’ll want him in the six-man team.
“He won about £60 and was a pro for just two months, but he’s been made to sweat for six months before getting his amateur status back. I think it’s ridiculous.
“It’s great to have Tom back for Sunday and he’s raring to go, which is good.”
Leeds trail Sheffield by three points and McKee accepts that it will take an unforeseen set of results if the county’s largest and strongest union are to be prevented from winning their third title in a row.
But Leeds have made impressive progress under his captaincy and he feels that the signs are promising that they can become title contenders in the near future.
Leeds were narrowly beaten by Sheffield, 21-15, back in June and the champions’ hierarchy let McKee know that they had been given a severe test at Abbeydale.
“We will eventually beat Sheffield, and hopefully it will be next year,” he said, “but to get them as close as we did, to get them within a game and a half, it was a good result. We’re in good shape, but let’s see where we are at the end of the season,.
“Sheffield need to slip up, and they’ve got two away games to come – although I can’t see them slipping up.
“But if we can finish second this year that would be one of our best performances for years, and we’ve got a lot of good juniors coming through.”
Among those juniors showing enormous potential are Wakefield’s Dan Bradbury and Howley Hall’s Tom North.
Bradbury is on the way back to full health after struggling with illness and finished only just outside the top 25 in last week’s prestigious Carris Trophy.
He shot 66 73 70 68 in the event, the English Boys’ Under-18 Open Amateur Stroke Play Championship, at West Sussex.
He and North will be lost to Leeds when they head to the USA to take up golf scholarships.
In the meanwhile, McKee is confident he has a strong side out for Sunday’s match at Bracken Ghyll, with the Leeds team’s handicaps averaging out at scratch.
“I know we always want to beat Bradford and I’m sure they always want to beat Leeds,” he said. “We are big rivals in terms of geography. It (beating Bradford) is high on the priority list.
“The one problem is that Bracken Ghyll is a very quirky course and not knowing it you’re not sure what to expect.
“But saying that, I don’t think the Bradford guys know it because their union doesn’t play many things there.”