Francois Calmels will be hoping a return to the Telenet Trophy to defend the title he won last year can kick-start his season.
The Frenchman triumphed in Belgium 12 months ago, winning by two shots from Sam Walker and Carlos Rodiles after birdieing the last two holes at Royal Waterloo. The victory contributed to him finishing 20th in the Challenge Tour Rankings, earning him a European Tour card for 2010.
This season he has struggled for form however, missing four consecutive cuts before a vastly improved performance led to him finishing tied 14th at the ALLIANZ Côtes d’Armor Open Bretagne.
The 28 year old then missed the cut at the Iberdrola Open Cala Millor Mallorca in his next event, but he believes returning to Belgium – albeit to a different course as this year’s tournament is being played at Rinkven Golf Club – can inspire him to rediscover his form.
“It will still be great to be going back as the defending champion,” said Calmels. “It’s at a different venue but I’ve played there before and it’s a great course. There are a lot of great courses in Belgium and it’s a place I always enjoy going there.
“Last year’s win was a great moment because I’d been playing really well in the weeks leading up to the Telenet Trophy but not making any top fives or top tens so it was beginning to get frustrating. The victory gave me a lot of points on the Challenge Tour which was very important. I went up to third or fourth in the Rankings which was very nice.
“The win was important in helping me finish 20th in the Rankings at the end of the season and from that I’ve been able to play in a few European Tour tournaments. I’ve not been playing that great but hopefully going back to the Telenet trophy as defending champion will inspire me and I can put in a good performance.
“This year my aim is to finish in the top 15 or top ten in the Rankings.”
Rankings leader Robert Dinwiddie is also in the field, as is his English compatriot Sam Walker. Both have tasted success already this season at the Kenya Open and the ALLIANZ Côtes d’Armor Open Bretagne respectively.
Nicolas Vanhootegem, the first and only Belgian to take the title when he won in 2007, is among the contingent of home challengers at the 6,178 metre, par 72 Rinkven course, which is set in a forest and has tight tree-lined fairways.