Alan Fahy fired a closing three-under par 69 to take the chequered flag in this year’s Bridgestone Order of Merit as the AIG Irish Close Championship brought the curtain down on the 2020 season.
The Dun Laoghaire star entered the final tournament in this year’s series holding a healthy 60-point advantage but began the final day outside the top-20 players who would be awarded points at Sandy Hills. With Carton House’s Marc Boucher, then fourth in the Bridgestone table, only two shots back of the leaders ahead of the final round, the gauntlet was thrown down to Fahy to produce his Sunday best in order to secure the Order of Merit crown.
It was a challenge he duly rose to; Fahy’s six birdie haul propelling him to a tied-8th result – his fourth top-10 of the campaign – for which he was awarded 58 points, bringing his season’s tally to 298. Boucher’s efforts to reel him in were valiant but with Hugh Foley running out a 10 stroke winner at Sandy Hills, he had to settle for a share of second, ultimately falling 35 points shy of Fahy’s winning mark.
An individual win may have proved elusive in the four counting events in this year’s Bridgestone but Order of Merits reward consistency and nobody has matched Fahy’s heights this term. His season began with a top-10 result at the Mullingar Scratch Trophy where Jason Rackard recorded a maiden ‘major’ win.
Fahy was on form again at Cork Golf Club where he raced to a final round 67 before grabbing a distant share of second at the Munster Stroke Play championship, where Peter O’Keeffe ran out a seven shot winner.
While at the Connacht Stroke Play where Rowan Lester prevailed at Portumna, Fahy was again an ever-present on the leader board before eventually sharing fourth place alongside Boucher at three-under par.
A Bridgestone champion, now Fahy can count himself part of Golf Ireland’s first men’s High Performance Panel with the top-3 in the Series earning automatic selections.
It’s consolation for Boucher who pushed Fahy all the way on Sunday while Foley’s heroics out in front saw him grab the last place in third on 193 points.
Colm Conyngham, Marketing and PR Manager, Bridgetsone Ireland says: “I would like to congratulate Alan Fahy on winning the 2020 Bridgestone Order of Merit and his strong performance overall. Bridgestone is delighted that the series was able to go ahead and that young golfers continued to have a competitive challenge in these very difficult times. I would like thank the GUI for their expert and safe organisation.”