Yorkshire golf: President Jonathan Plaxton leads celebration of county's summer of success

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YORKSHIRE'S top players have rarely been outshone this year - but they were at the Yorkshire Union of Golf Club's annual dinner at York Racecourse where the silverware laid before the top table bedazzled.

The trophies included those for the English men's amateur championship, the Brabazon Trophy and the Scrutton Jug.

Yorkshire Union of Golf Club's annual dinner was held at York Racecourse.

Yorkshire Union of Golf Club's annual dinner was held at York Racecourse.

They were won respectively by Dan Brown (Masham), Jamie Bower (Meltham) and Ben Hutchinson (Howley Hall), who each received an inscribed plate from the union's president Jonathan Plaxton to mark their achievements.

The glittering array also included the English men's county championship trophy, captain Darryl Berry having led his side first to success in the Northern Counties League and then in the national event at Sandwell Park in September.

Yorkshire saw Bower, Brown, James Walker (The Oaks) and Jonathan Thomson (Lindrick), the latter now a professional, all represent England, as did Charlie Daughtrey (Rotherham), Alex Fitzpatrick and Barclay Brown (Hallamshire) at Boys and Under-16 level.

Moortown's Stephen East continued his distinguished senior career this summer while, at the other end of the age scale, Fulford's Charlie Thornton won England Golf's Boys' Order of Merit.

The union's president had praise for them all, as well as for the coaches who have been so instrumental in Yorkshire becoming the pre-eminent county in the men's game - as exemplified by Brown's triumph at Ganton being the third time in succession that the England men's amateur crown had rested on the head of a Yorkshireman.

"We can be proud of the achievements of all our county players, who benefit from having world-class coaches on our doorstep," said Plaxton.

"This can easily be overlooked and I'd like to take the opportunity to recognise and publicly thank them - Steve Robinson, Gary Brown, Craig Fricker, Graham Walker and John King."

Former Yorkshire champion Danny Willett and the 2011 runner-up Matt Fitzpatrick made their Ryder Cup debuts at Hazeltine in September where an ill-timed and ill-conceived article by Willett's brother fermented ill-will towards Europe's players among some vocal members of the partisan USA crowd.

"A still very youthful-looking Matt Fitzpatrick was asked what the most offensive thing that was said to him on the course was," noted Plaxton.

"He thought for a minute and replied that he was tucking into a sandwich on one of the tees when someone piped up, 'Did your Mom cut off the crusts for you, Matt?'."

As successful as the year has been, the highlight being Willett's annexing of the Masters title at Augusta in April, there has been sadness, too, with the deaths of Tony Grayson and Russ Chilton.

Lindrick captain Grayson was one of the county's best known and highly respected golf administrators while Chilton was captain of York's Inter-District Union side.

"Whilst Tony saw Danny Willett win at Augusta, he sadly didn't live to see the Ryder Cup," reflected the county president. "We gathered at his beloved Sheffield Wednesday football ground to say our farewells.

"Tony wrote to me two years ago when it was announced that I would be Yorkshire president and I was glad to be there with him in April when the first-ever Danny Willett Trophy was played for at Lindrick, and won by Ben Brewster.

"The York Union also said goodbye to their captain, and my friend, Russ Chilton, who was widely known to many. He truly was a larger than life character. Hus funeral was attended by several hundred people including golfers from across the United Kingdom.

"I know he's greatly missed at Pike Hills Golf Club especially. However, he's left a golfing legacy and I know golfers in York have determined to honour his name in the same way that Lindrick is doing for Tony."

Plaxton invited the Yorkshire Ladies County Golf Association to take a table at the gathering, which they did being represented by, among others, their president Heather Cawdry and captain Dawn Clegg.

A former YLCGA captain, Marian Rae - the president of England Golf - was one of the guest speakers, along with Keith Macintosh, the captain of the R&A, and BBC broadcaster Harry Gration.