Thomas Levet is ready to sparkle at Diamond Country Club this week having got his competitive juices flowing once again ahead of the Lyoness Open powered by Greenfinity.
Levet ended a wretched run of 11 missed cuts, during which time he struggled to regain full fitness after breaking his ribs earlier in the year.
But he bounced back in some style with a top five finish in the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open, and after watching the world’s best battle it out in The Open Championship from the television booth commenting for Canal +, the popular Frenchman has been inspired to produce another top performance.
“Castle Stuart got me mentally right, and it was good to get four good rounds under my belt as I have not had many of those,” he said.
“And watching all the players at The Open also teaches you a lot. Not only so you see how patient the top players are, but you also learn you miss the game. It’s a very good mental exercise as you are frustrated wanting to be out there, and that is motivational. It makes you want to play so much. I am really looking forward to playing Austria now.”
Levet was just one shot behind with six holes to play at Castle Stuart, in Inverness, before finishing just two strokes shy of the play-off; and while he would have dearly loved to have won, there was a clear shift in his mental approach after his struggles through the first half of the season.
He said: “All the injuries are behind me, and now I am looking forward to the season. I have no more excuses. I had three months to practice, and then three months to find my form. Being impatient cost me, as I wanted to come back from the injury too quickly.
“It takes time to get back to playing form and then longer to get back to scoring form, as they are very different. Then to get back to winning form takes even longer still. I wanted to be winning from the start, and that doesn’t happen.
“I am not far from winning form now though. The Scottish Open showed I am close, so it is in the back on my mind that I could do well in Austria as I will be one of the favourites.”
The six-time European Tour champion has not played Diamond Country Club, on the outskirts of the Austrian capital Vienna, but he is relishing the opportunity to return to action – and also to practise his language skills.
“The courses in Austria are great, the greens are always good and the terrain is fantastic so I always look forward to going there,” said the former Ryder Cup player. “All the Austrian Opens I have played over the years have been played on fantastic courses, so I am really looking forward to it. I am also one of the few German speaking players, so it gives me a chance to practice a little!”