Alan Fahy has paid tribute to his coach Noel Fox after he was the last man standing in Rosses Point, defeating Liam Nolan 2&1 to win the 99th Connolly’s Audi West of Ireland Championship.
The Bray native survived the marathon five-day event which included playing 36 holes on Monday and Tuesday after 54-holes of stroke play qualifying.
The 24-year-old lifted his maiden major title and righted the wrongs of a chastening South of Ireland final defeat to Sligo’s TJ Ford last year.
Fahy now adds his name to an illustrious list of winners inside the clubhouse at Co. Sligo Golf Club, joining Rory McIlroy, Shane Lowry, Pádraig Harrington and Fox himself who lifted the trophy in 1998, and the Maynooth alum feels some hard work over the last two weeks paid dividends.
“I’ve been with Noel Fox for the last couple of years and we have done a lot of work,” he said. “I saw him on the board in there. I saw him two weeks ago and he just said stay patient because I was getting in my own head and wasn’t hitting it great – we made some changes for the long term.
“It was only when I lost in the final of the South I was thinking what a good opportunity I had let slip. Then I hadn’t been playing great and I was like jeez, wondering when I would be competing like that again. So I am delighted my hard work has paid off. I have put in a lot of hard work over the last few months and I didn’t really see results. I just stayed patient really. Sometimes it pays off and you just have to stick with it. I swung it unreal!”
It was a family affair for Fahy who works with his father in his glazing business in Bray. Paul Fahy played the role of caddy throughout the week and he proved to be the ideal lieutenant for his son.
“He has a glazing business, anything to do with glass in Bray, he was pulling the bag, he got the wind a few times.
“He deserves credit. I think sometimes you can have a caddy and they get in the way. I’ve been making good decisions all week so I just stuck to my own guns.”
Fahy cut a visibly jaded figure after Monday’s last-16 and quarter-final matches with many wondering if he was going to be able to recover and go again for another 36 holes on Tuesday. The Geography student answered those doubts with aplomb with a superb display of ball striking and also mental fortitude to remain focused and hole some key putts on the back nine.
“I was way more energetic today,” he added. I don’t know what it was with everyone watching or something. I had a good night’s sleep and felt way more energised. I was asleep at half nine. I tried to enjoy the experience and kept the energy levels up. I played solid as well which helps.
“When you are hitting it well it’s easier to mentally keep going. I was mentally tired yesterday; I had a ropey few holes in the middle of the round.”
Fahy heads home with the trophy and surely a well-earned few days off from work. The Irish international will now look forward to the rest of the season and as he contemplates returning to university to study a masters in climate change, there is no doubt whether it be in the ozone layer or on the greens, he knows where the hole is!