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Adrian Meronk’s road to US PGA Championship debut

Adrian Meronk’s road to US PGA Championship debut

By Mathieu Wood

Adrian Meronk completes the full sweep of Major Championship appearances this week as he takes his place in the US PGA Championship field for the first time.

The Pole arrives at Oak Hill Country Club fresh off winning his third DP World Tour title at the DS Automobiles Italian Open earlier this month at Marco Simone Golf & Country Club, venue for this year’s Ryder Cup.

Flying high in fourth place on the DP World Tour Rankings in Partnership with Rolex, the 29-year-old is looking to continue his excellent ascent in the world game after a history-making 12 months.

Here, we take a closer look at how Meronk – a graduate of the Challenge Tour in 2019 – made his mark on the world stage and continued to blaze a trail for golf in his homeland.

May – June 2022: Momentum builds

After beginning 2022 outside the world’s top 150 on the world rankings, Meronk quickly found form with three top tens in his first seven starts of the season. In among those was a career-best Rolex Series finish of a tie for fourth on his Dubai Desert Classic. A fourth top ten and second third-placed finish followed at the start of May at the Catalunya Championship. He then bounced back from a missed cut at the Betfred British Masters, before following up a sixth-placed finish at the Soudal Open with solo third at the Dutch Open, missing out on a play-off won by Victor Perez by a single shot. A third missed cut of his season around the challenging Green Eagle Golf Courses at the Porsche European Open could not prevent him heading into the summer comfortably inside the top ten on the season-long rankings. All the signs pointed to him being on the cusp of a breakthrough DP World Tour title.

July – September 2022: Maiden Tour win in Ireland and living up to new expectations

And as if by magic, in his very next start, Meronk made history by becoming the first player from Poland to win on the DP World Tour as he claimed a three-shot victory at the Horizon Irish Open. In front of a packed-out Mount Juliet Estate, the 29-year-old mixed an eagle with two birdies in his final four holes to card a closing 66 and turn a one-shot deficit into a commanding winning margin. His victory lifted him two spots on the Race to Dubai from seventh to fifth and all but confirm his appearance as one of the top-50 ranked players in the field for the season-ending DP World Tour Championship in November. He was unable to capitalise on the momentum in his game as he struggled to content towards the top of the leaderboards over the subsequent two-month period, missing the cut at the Genesis Scottish Open and the DS Automobiles Italian Open. But he returned to form by narrowly missing out on an eighth top ten of the campaign at the Cazoo Open de France at the end of September.

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Adrian Meronk became Poland's first winner on the DP World Tour at Mount Juliet

October – November 2022: End of memorable season and impressive Dubai showing

His tie for 11th at former Ryder Cup venue Le Golf National marked the first of five consecutive cuts he made, culminating at the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai. Such had been his form over the season, he arrived at the Earth Course as one of seven players still in the race to be crowned European Number One. While his chances of lifting the Harry Vardon Trophy slim, with a win needed at the Rolex Series event and other scenarios to go in his favour, he ensured he closed out the campaign with plenty of reason for cheer. A third-round 65 helped him to end the week in seventh spot and the campaign eighth on the Race to Dubai. Confidence was understandably high as he turned the page onto a new season, with him back in action a matter of a few days later.

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Meronk registered seven further top tens along with his victory in Ireland during the 2022 campaign

November 2022 – December 2022: Second Tour win in Australia

Meronk began the 2023 campaign in Australia, making back-to-back appearances at the Fortinet Australian PGA Championship and ISPS HANDA Australian Open. After finishing in a tie for 34th at the season-opening event in Brisbane, Meronk was soon celebrating a second Tour title Down Under. When he carded a first-round 73 a week later at Victoria Golf Club, many might have been forgiven for thinking he would be more likely to be fighting to make the cut than take the title at Australia’s national Open. But he did just that as he made 20 birdies and two eagles across the final three rounds to storm to his second DP World Tour win by five shots from Major champion and home favourite Adam Scott. The win helped him to finish the year ranked 48th in the world rankings and just inside the top 50 cut-off line to confirm his spot at the 2023 Masters Tournament.

January 2023 – February 2023: Winning ways continue at Hero Cup

In his first start of the new year, Meronk formed part of the Continental Europe side at the inaugural Hero Cup at the Abu Dhabi Golf Club. Heading to the 18th tee with a one-hole lead over Great Britain & Ireland’s Callum Shinkwin, the Pole secured the winning point as he sank a 30-foot birdie putt on the final green. A week later, he recorded four under-par rounds to finish in the top ten at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship – the opening Rolex Series event of the year. A missed cut followed at the Hero Dubai Desert Classic but it wasn’t long before he was back to near his best as he carded two 65s to finish in a tie for fourth at the Ras Al Khaimah Championship in the final event of the Middle East swing.

February 2023 – April 2023: New opportunities and more history created Stateside

He began a run of appearances on the PGA TOUR by making the cut in the Genesis Invitational at Riviera Country Club. By doing so, he became the first player from his country to achieve the feat in the United States. A week later, he recorded his career-best finish to date on the PGA TOUR at the Honda Classic as he carded four rounds of 70 or better to be in a share of 14th place. A missed cut at the Arnold Palmer Invitational followed before his debut appearance at the WGC – Dell Technologies Match Play, narrowly missing out on progressing from his group in a three-man sudden death play-off. He subsequently made more history as the first Polish player to compete in the Masters – an experience he described as “unbelievable”.

April 2023 – May 2023: Wins again in Rome to boost Ryder Cup triumph

After a three-week break following his debut appearance at Augusta National, he returned to action at the Korea Championship Presented by Genesis. A closing one-over 73 saw him narrowly miss out on a top 20 finish as the Tour returned to Korea for the first time in a decade. But there were plenty of positives to take as he headed to Italy for its national open. In the event’s first visit to Marco Simone in 2021, he had finished in a tie for second behind Nicolai Højgaard and was widely viewed as one of the pre-tournament favourites. He duly lived up to that billing as he held off French pair Romain Langasque and Julien Guerrier in an exciting back-nine battle to claim a one-shot victory and improve his chances of qualifying for Luke Donald’s European Ryder Cup team.

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