It’s exactly what Adrian Meronk has dreamed of and the Polish golfer’s Ryder Cup ambitions are starting to look like they could become a reality after he lost Sunday’s Italian Open less than five months before the biggest team event in the tournament Sports has won course.
“I think that’s a solid statement, a solid brick in the wall,” Meronk said. “But it’s not over yet. I know that. … I’ll keep pushing, keep doing what I can to get into the team. But I think that should help a bit.”
Meronk finished the race with a 13-under aggregate and a 2-under 69 one-shot win over Romain Langasque, while round three leader Julien Guerrier finished third, three shots back.
It’s not the first time Meronk has performed well at Marco Simone after finishing second behind Nicolai Hojgaard at the 2021 Italian Open. He also showed his team qualities when he potted a 25-foot putt in 18th place to earn the deciding point for continental Europe in January’s Hero Cup matchplay event.
“I wanted to play well in front of Luke and winning the tournament is such a relief,” said Meronk. “I saw (Donald) in the dressing room this morning. He said, ‘Keep it up. Much luck.’ Such nice, encouraging words from him.”
The win – his third on the European tour – will put the 6ft 5 (1.97m) tall Meronk in fourth place in the Race to Dubai standings.
Afterward, Donald tweeted that it was a “superb win,” adding that Meronk “showed solid golf all week and had the right shots when he needed them most.
“I’m starting to make winning a habit. Well done Adrian,” Donald concluded.
Meronk hit his 3-wood just short of the green on the mobile par-4 16th to set up a birdie that gave him a one-shot lead. Then the tricky par 3 17th went up and down after hitting his tee shot into the rough right side of the green.
On the 18th, Meronk potted a 7-foot downhill birdie putt that practically sealed it when Langasque drove behind him into the tall grass to the right of the fairway in the final pairing.
“It just suits my game,” Meronk said of the course. “You have to be careful on the tee. Fairways are crucial here because if you miss them, it’s going to be tough. This week my short game was my big advantage. Saved so many shots from difficult positions. … It makes the game a lot easier when you’re not doing your best.”
Hojgaard also proved his skills again at Marco Simone, finishing with a 6-under 65 to take fifth place in a tie, six shots behind Meronk.
From 29 Sept-Oct 1, Marco Simone will become the third venue in continental Europe to host the Ryder Cup, after Valderrama in Spain (1997) and Le Golf National in France (2018).
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