Chasing his PGA Tour dream

Jeremy Fuchs in the 2018 Seaside Classic. He is playing in stage one of the 2019 PGA Tour of Australasia Qualifying School series at Riverside Oaks from December 5-7. Photo: Ivan Sajko/Port Macquarie News

WHEN is the right time to start chasing your dream of becoming a pro golfer?

For 22-year-old Sydneysider Jeremy Fuchs, it’s this week at NSW’s Riverside Oaks Golf Resort – and by the end of Friday, he’ll know if he’s made the cut.

Fuchs, who only discovered he had a talent and passion for golf seven years ago, has spent the last 18 months playing as many pro-am tournaments as possible around the country in preparation for having a crack for the first time in the PGA Tour of Australasia Qualifying School stage one event, played over three rounds from December 5-7.

Joining him on the course are 14 other amateurs, and 37 professionals from Australia and seven other nations.

If he ranks highly enough, he will advance – along with top finishers in equivalent stage one events played this week in Queensland, Victoria and Western Australia – to the final stage at Victoria’s Moonah Links from December 12-15.

The series is open to golfers with a handicap of 2.4 or less, and is designed as a test of character and skill.

The reward for the top five on the final leaderboard is automatic entry into 2019 PGA Tour of Australasia state championships and most Tier 1 tournaments on the pro tour in Australia, while those finishing from sixth to 40th place at Moonah Links will gain entry to most of those events, depending on their rank.

Fuchs told The AJN now was as good a time as any for him to have a crack at earning a place on the pro tour.

“When it comes to Qualifying School, a lot of people tend to wait until they feel ‘ready’ to enter it,” Fuchs said.

“But my coach for the last three years at The Lakes, Christian Small – who has played a huge role in my development – sat down with me and asked how do you actually know when you are ready?

“He said the only way to know is to go and play in it and see, and that’s been my goal.”

Fuchs mainly played basketball at school, but when he was 15 he stayed at a friend’s place and by chance they ended up playing a round of golf with his friend’s dad, who was a keen golfer who noticed Fuchs had a natural aptitude for the game.

“So I had a bit of a late start in learning golf, but I loved it straight away, I began attending golf clinics, and after doing the HSC I decided golf was something I wanted to do as a career.”

Fuchs, who is completing an online university course in international studies and works part-time as a builder-labourer, has had solid results on the golf course in recent years.

He won the 2017 Maccabi NSW Jewish Open Golf Championships and was runner-up this year, he made the cut and came 26th in a field of 68 at the 2018 Federal Amateur Open Championships, he was part of Bonnie Doon Golf Club’s team that finished runners-up in the 2018 Sydney Metro Major Pennant, and is currently ranked 190 on the Golf Australia Order of Merit list.

“Golf can be a fickle game and it’s a slow progression up the ranks, but I wouldn’t be going to Q School if I didn’t think I could compete with the other guys,” Fuchs said.

“I’m relatively consistent off the tee and very confident with my putting, but everyone there can hit a golf ball well – the rest of it is all mental, and I’ve been working a lot with my coach on that side of my game.

“I feel quite strong mentally, and can think my way around a golf course and stay committed to my processes.

“The other big thing in golf is consistency and being able to play well for four rounds and not just one – and that’s something in the last 12 months I’ve focused on too.”

Fuchs said whatever happens this week, he will learn from the experience.

“My aim is to play the best I can and to try to enjoy it too, and it’s very nice to have the Jewish golfing community behind me.”

SHANE DESIATNIK