Barely 18 months after suffering a freak, career-threatening injury, François Calmels completed his comeback by winning last week’s Challenge de Madrid.
It was his second Challenge Tour title following his 2009 Telenet Trophy win, and put firmly behind him the memories of a frustrating four-month spell in 2012 following a bizarre injury to his hand.
Shortly before the European Tour Qualifying School Final Stage in December 2011, Calmels was in a lift in his Parisian apartment block when his dog ran out as the doors closed. Still holding the lead, which was trapped in the door, he decided the only way he could save his pet was the wrap it round his right hand.
“The lead cut four fingers to the bone,” said the 31 year old, whose girlfriend is Ladies European Tour player Jade Schaeffer. “I have no feeling in my index finger. It was a frustrating time not being able to play, but it is all behind me now and winning last week makes it all worthwhile."
A club-mate of Romain Wattel at Bussy-Saint-George Golf Club, Calmels has twice graduated to The European Tour – in 2006 from the Qualifying School and in 2009 by finishing 20th in the Challenge Tour Rankings – but has so far been unable to make an impact on the top tier.
This time he is determined to learn from experience and build on his fine start to the season, which continues at this week’s Montecchia Golf Open presented by POLAROID near Venice, Italy.
“The last few years have been frustrating but now I feel like my game is all coming together,” said Calmels. “I was very pleased with the way I handled the pressure last week.
“Winning has done my confidence the world of good and hopefully it’s just the start of more good performances throughout the year.”