Adrian Meronk is hoping to follow up an eye-catching performance at the season-opening Barclays Kenya Open with another strong showing at the Turkish Airlines Challenge.
The 23 year old, who hails from Wroclaw in Poland, secured a top five finish in Nairobi last month in his first Challenge Tour event since turning professional at the end of last year, a result which secured his spot in the field at Gloria Golf Resort this week.
As he walked off the 18th green at Muthaiga Golf Club, Meronk actually thought he had narrowly missed an opportunity to have won the tournament after his chip for eagle lipped out, but ultimately Aaron Rai’s extraordinary final round put him well clear of the field – not that Meronk was disappointed with his week.
“I’m very pleased with the start I had in Kenya and the way I played,” he said. “Being here in Turkey is a massive bonus for me, because of finishing well in Kenya, so I’m really happy with that and I want to take advantage of it.
“I knew I was close to winning because I could see my name on the leaderboard. I thought if I made it maybe there would be a chance for a play-off, because at that time I was playing with the leader.
“But then obviously Aaron played phenomenally on the back nine so I wouldn’t have had any chance anyway, so it didn’t really matter, but I was very emotional, a little bit disappointed because I thought it was in, but like I said I’m very pleased with my performance.
“In the past I’ve always struggled on the fourth day of the tournament just because I’m not really used to it – in the past I’ve not played many tournaments that go four days, it was all three rounds.
“It’s something I’m having to get used to and I’m very happy with the way I played last month in Kenya but especially on that last day.”
Meronk started 2017 knowing he would need to rely on invites to be sure of playing opportunities but, after such a strong start to the season, he now has high hopes for the rest of the year.
“It changed my goals a little bit,” he said. “First of all I want to secure full status on the Challenge Tour, so I want to take advantage of the very first tournaments, play well and get some points, put my name up there in the Rankings.
“After that, we’ll see – I already feel very comfortable on the Challenge Tour, I’m feeling confident after Kenya. That was my first Challenge Tour event as a pro but I’m getting used to it and I think there won’t be too big an adjustment for me.”
This is the fourth staging of the Turkish Airlines Challenge, with Gloria’s New Course once again playing host, and with all three previous winners of the event – Oliver Farr from 2014, 2015 champion Rhys Davies and last year’s winner Clément Sordet – present as a strong field assembles in Belek.
This is Meronk’s first time at Gloria but from his previous visits to Turkey, he is hopeful that this can be another week to remember.“I’ve played in Turkey before but not at this course,” he said. “I think they’re all pretty similar and I like how they are set up so I think it will be a good week for me, I’m excited to be here.”