Behind the fiercely competitive edge at the ECCO Tour Championship presented by Thomas Björn & Mercedes Benz this week, there lies a heart-warming story as Dane Oliver Suhr made a return to the European Challenge Tour two years after a horrific accident halted his fledgling career in its tracks.
Suhr was coming in to the form his life at the European Tour Qualifying School Round One in 2009 as he led the field after opening rounds of 69 and 74 at the Lübker Golf Resort in Denmark, the very venue of his big return in this week’s tournament.
But the evening after his second round, the 27 year suffered two badly broken legs after a terrible waterslide accident.
“I was leading Qualifying School after two rounds. It was a messed up weekend. I was leading and everything was perfect and I was hitting the ball very well,” recalled the Dane.
“I knew I had to do well in the Q-School after a poor year on the Challenge Tour and everything was going perfect and then I got into the waterslide and in one second, everything changed.”
Suhr had unknowingly boarded the waterslide when the landing area had not yet filled up with water and shattered a number of bones in both legs upon landing.
“It was really bad, but I tried to take it with a smile and fight back and now I’m playing again,” he said. “It’s fantastic to be back but there is still a long way to go.
“It’s funny to play the second hole now, because the green is right beside that waterslide but every time I finish a round now, it’s a small victory and especially on this course because it’s a really hard one to walk.”
While Lübker Golf Resort was the scene of Suhr’s unfortunate accident, it has also seen two of the biggest milestones in his recovery as he made his return to professional golf there last year in an ECCO Tour event.
He has played a number of events in both the ECCO and Nordea Tours since then but this week’s appearance marks his return to the Challenge Tour, having gained a card for 2009 and taken part in 11 tournaments.
But he is not prepared to rest on his laurels and has set high targets for the rest of the year, starting with a return to The European Tour Qualifying School.
“Hopefully I can do my best to be ready for this year’s Q-School and hopefully I can play good and maybe get a category on the Challenge Tour again,” he said.
“The recovery is going better and better but I didn’t see the progress because I was just taking one day at a time. But then when I met people they would say ‘it’s looking much better now’ and that was really nice to know; that it’s been getting better.
“I’m trying to play a lot of tournaments and not think too much about the results, it’s fantastic if I can make the cuts but it’s just great to come out and walk a lot,” he continued, before concluding with a statement that perfectly encapsulates his undying positivity.
“I’m here now so I must be doing something right!”