A superb victory in his native Belgium, at the Challenge Tour's Telenet Trophy, have propelled Vanhootegem to the upper echelons of the Challenge Tour Rankings and given him a great opportunity to regain his place on The European Tour in 2008. Enjoyed a successful amateur career, winning the Welsh Open Stroke Play, before turning professional in 1994. Hails from Knokke. Put up a strong showing at the 1999 Qualifying School - Final Stage, taking third available European Tour card behind Alastair Forsyth and Niclas Fasth. Finished 143rd on the 2001 Order of Merit but returned to the School and graduated with the sixth card in his pocket. Ensured he would not have to undertake the trip to Qualifying School in 2002 when he finished in the top 15 of the Challenge Tour Rankings, thanks largely to victory in the Aa St Omer Open. The following week he continued his good form by finishing joint fifth in The Great North Open, his highest finish on The European Tour to date.