Paul Broadhurst has confirmed that he will tee up at The Belfry next Thursday to lead the Midland challenge in this year's Quinn Direct British Masters.

The Midlands' top ranked golfer has taken the last month off from European Tour duty to look after his family, while his wife Lorraine was recovering from a surgery.

It was his intention to take the rest of the golfing year off to concentrate on 'school run' duty for his four children.

But Broadhurst did leave the door open to say he might compete at The Belfry, given that it is almost on the Atherstone golfer's doorstep.

Now that his wife is on the mend, he has confirmed he will play in what is now the European Tour's only Midlands-based tournament, and may also yet compete in one or two other events in the hope of qualifying for the season-closing Volvo Masters in early November.

"She's still very sore," said Broadhurst. "But it's now a fortnight since she had it and everything seems to have gone well, so I've now got the mother in law lined up for school run duty next week.

"It was always my hope that I could play at The Belfry next week. I've not actually played the course since the Sunday of last year, but it would have been a real shame not to play when I'm so nearby. And the only problem now is getting some golf in.

"I had my first round in three weeks at Drayton Park on Sunday but one of my sons is at Coventry City's Academy three nights a week so I've been taking the chance to go and hit a bucket of balls at Keresley Driving Range.

"And I'll carry on practising through the weekend, go and play the Brabazon on Tuesday and hopefully be ready when we tee off on Thursday."

Broadhurst was particularly keen to play in an event in which he finished seventh last May, earning a cheque for £54,000, one of his best weeks of the year. He knows a repeat could be enough to earn him a place in the exclusive 60-strong field for the prestigious Volvo Masters at Valderrama.

"I'm currently 60th on the Order of Merit and, if I can stay in the Top 60, that would earn me an invite to Valderrama. But I need to have a good week next week, I'm also going to play the Dunhill in Scotland next month and see where that leaves me."

Broadhurst will be joined in the 156-strong field next week by fellow Midlanders Steve Webster, Sam Walker and The Belfry's two own touring professionals Robert Rock and Tom Whitehouse, as well as Peter Baker, the 1993 British Masters champion, who gets in on a special invite.

Baker will warm up for the event by returning to Challenge Tour duty in Spain this week. The man from Wolverhampton has a 9.20 tee-off time this morning at the OKI Mahou Challenge de Espana at Campo de Layos.

Having dropped to 20th in the rankings after two missed cuts in three weeks, and opted for The Belfry next week rather than one of the more lucrative weeks of the Challenge Tour year in Kazakhstan, Baker needs a good finish this week to maintain that all-important place in the Top 20.

By contrast, Worcestershire's John Bickerton, based abroad primarily in Bavaria and Dubai, has opted not to play at The Belfry.

Instead, he is the only Midlander in action in the elite 78-man field for this week's Mercedes-Benz Championship at Golf Club Gut Larchenhof, on the outskirts of Cologne.

US Open winner Angel Cabrera, making his first appearance in continental Europe since his victory at Oakmont, is one of six Major champions on show. The others comprise

Michael Campbell, John Daly, Retief Goosen and Paul Lawrie and the tournament host, Bernhard Langer.

After turning 50 a fortnight ago, Langer will be attempting to win his own tournament for a fifth time and become the oldest winner in European Tour history. That might not be beyond him, having finished joint second in the BMW in Munich in June and joint third in The KLM Open last month on his two most recent Tour appearances.

The Mercedes-Benz Championship reunites Langer, the 2004 European Ryder Cup captain, with seven of his winning team at Oakland Hills, Darren Clarke, David Howell, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Paul McGinley, Colin Montgomerie, Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood.

* Tickets for The Belfry next week can still be pre-booked at 25per cent discount (season and concessions available) on 0871 230 9809,