A three under par 67 in the first round of the Finnish Challenge signalled a much-needed return to form for Englishman Chris Gane, who has missed the cut in his last four tournaments.
The Englishman, who finished 19th in last season’s Challenge Tour Rankings, played the first half of the season on The European Tour, but has returned to the Challenge Tour after finding his playing opportunities limited following the first re-rank.
Before the first round at Kytäjä Golf, two over par was his best score since finishing 28th in the Scottish Hydro Challenge in June, but Gane is confident he is on the up after eliminating a flaw in his swing.
“What’s changed?” said Gane. “What’s changed is that I had Tom Whitehouse, Garry Houston and Andrew Tampion giving me a golf lesson last week. All three of them at the same time on the range.
“My head has been in the shed the last few weeks. I’ve been shooting some awful scores. There’s a shot that has been popping up every now and then and it always means at least a double bogey. But on the range this morning, I thought of something I used to do, and it got rid of it. And I was on fire today.
“I sometimes get a bit lazy through the ball, so I’ve been working hard at turning through it and clearing out the way of it, and that has stopped me hitting the hook that has been plaguing my game. It has been killing me, so it’s nice to get rid of it.
“When you don’t know when it’s coming, or where it’s coming from, there’s not much you can do. Last week at the English Challenge I hit a couple of shots and heard the ball spotter take a sharp intake of breath. It was that bad.”
The 38 year old is ready to put the frustration of the last month firmly behind him now, and concentrate on finishing as high as possible in the Rankings.
“In this game, the margins are so small,” he said. “You only have to find a little something and suddenly you’re going the other way. A round like this is a massive confidence booster. That’s the first under par round I’ve had since Scotland. I have not even been close in the last few weeks.
“Hopefully I can kick on from here and build on this. There’s no point shying away from it and taking a week off. You have to keep believing and working hard.”