Mark Flindt Haastrup arrives at the Vierumäki Finnish Challenge happy with the progress he has made over the past two years after initially fearing his career was over.
The Dane suffered a wrist injury in 2010, when he was playing on the European Tour, cutting short his rookie season on Europe’s top tier in September that year.
After 14 months out and a loss of form, Haastrup was left wondering if he would be able to play professional golf again.
But following a phenomenal campaign on the Nordic Golf League last year, where he won four times on his way to topping the Order of Merit, the 33 year old qualified for the European Challenge Tour.
Having come close to another victory at the KPMG Trophy this season, Haastrup is delighted that he has been able to compete for silverware once again.
“I really thought my career was over,” he said. “I had started looking at other things for work, so now I am just really grateful to be here.
“It took a long time to come back. I didn’t get the right treatment to start with and it was a very complicated situation. I spent too long playing with it hurt, when I should have had surgery immediately.
“It took 14 months to get back to fitness and in that time I lost most of my playing rights. When I started again I just played really poorly.
“Last year I really started to play better. With the strength of all the young players coming through now, though, I feel I am probably playing better than I did when I was on the European Tour – but the competition is much higher.
“When I was on the European Tour I used to miss quite a lot of cuts then get a high finish, which was good, but I’d say last year I played far better on the Nordic League.
“It was a lot of fun last year. I took a lot of positives out of it and the experience of winning regularly has definitely helped me this season – I didn’t win in Belgium but I was able to close the tournament well and finish third which was really important.
“You never know if you are just going to have one good season and then not be able to keep it going, so after doing so well last year I am happy that I have been able to play okay this season too.
“Obviously I have dreams of getting back to the European Tour, but I will take it as it comes as I know that you have to be lucky at the right times.”
With one top-five and two top-20 finishes under his belt this season, Haastrup sits in 46th place on the 2017 Road to Oman.
Having never played at Vierumäki Resort before, Haastrup’s initial impressions with this week’s course were positive.
“The course this week looks beautiful,” he said. “It is an inland links course and I’ve heard very good things about the layout – it is going to be a great week.”