Alan Fahy insists he doesn’t feel any extra pressure heading into the Flogas Irish Amateur Open Championship this week and will be playing with low expectations when the action gets underway at The Island Golf Club in Dublin.
Fahy will tee it up as the West of Ireland champion with the potential to become just the second player to complete the West and Irish double after JB Carr in 1956 (three times), but such weighty thoughts couldn’t be further from his mind.
“It’s probably more that people are looking at me whereas it’s just another event for me,” he said. “I’ve played plenty before and I will play more again. I never really go in expecting to do well, it’s more just see how it goes and don’t put too much pressure on myself.
“It would be cool, but I can’t be thinking about stuff like that. It doesn’t work well for me if I go in thinking I am going to play well or win, I just stay in the moment. I have put pressure on myself in events before and it hasn’t gone well.
“Even though I won a couple of weeks ago, golf changes so quickly. I might go out and play badly this week but I am taking it one shot at a time and stick to the process,” added Fahy who will have a new driver, 3-wood, three iron and one iron in the bag this week.
The Bray native defeated Connacht favourite Liam Nolan in the West of Ireland decider after a marathon five days in Rosses Point and he hasn’t allowed himself to dwell on his achievement just yet with plenty of big events coming up, starting at The Island.
“I haven’t celebrated it much to be honest. When I went home that night I was absolutely wrecked, it was a three hour drive and I wasn’t home until around 11 then woke up the next day in bits for the week. We had Lytham the week after and I didn’t get to practice much and I was a bit annoyed with that. I will have celebrations after Brabazon.
“You don’t want to celebrate and sleep on the win, you want to push on a little bit. A few celebrations are in order though.
“Just take it one shot, one round at a time. It will be tough this week I think the weather isn’t going to be great.
“One round a day is definitely nicer and The Island is only 40 minutes from my house so I will be staying at home. I love the 18 holes a day. It gives you time to do some practice after and mentally rest yourself the next day. 36 can be quite tiring, physically and mentally.
“I played it a couple of days ago for the first time since the new changes, the course is really nice. Definitely off the tee it will be tough, you want to be driving it well. It tests all parts of your game, it is a proper links course especially if the wind gets up. There are a lot of slopey greens – it’s just a proper test of golf.”
Fahy won the West after it changed to 54-holes of stroke play qualifying and 36 holes of match play over the following two days but it’s the traditional 72-hole stroke play this week starting Thursday and the former Maynooth University student knows he will have to be on his game from the off.
He also believes the North of Ireland Amateur Championship has the potential to become the headline event in the Irish golfing calendar after it adopted a new 72-hole stroke play format for this year.
“I like the mix of both to be honest,” Fahy said. “It’s a bit different when you play match play, you just need to play 36 and qualify for it so you don’t need to be near the top of the leaderboard for it, you can qualify on the number and start like it’s a new tournament.
“In stroke play, there is more pressure to get off to a decent start, you don’t want to play yourself out of it the first couple of rounds, you have to be a lot more steady. I probably prefer stroke play, it’s tougher if you’re not on your game.
“I think the North moving to 72 holes will attract a more international field. I was talking to some of the English lads and they were definitely interested in it. It’s Portrush, one of the best courses in the world so everybody will want to come and play it, especially after the Open Championship.
“It has a lot of potential and it could be huge in a few years.”
Fahy tees off alongside local player Joseph Hanney and Australia’s Adam Brady at 08.22 on Thursday.
- Full tee-times HERE