Middle East and the month of May nearly-man Meronk has a shot to close out the Horizon Irish Open

Adrian Meronk went close to a maiden DP World Tour title three times during the Middle East swing and again three times during the month of May. With another shot at it Sunday at the Horizon Irish Open, the 29-year-old Pole has a simple yet unproven strategy to get across the line.

“Just stay patient and, you know, try not to get ahead of myself. Play my strategy, focus on my targets, and I hope that will be enough.”

A three-bogey, seven-birdie 68 saw Meronk grab the 54-hole lead at a wet Mount Juliet Estate at -14, a stroke ahead of halfway pace-setter Jorge Campillo, Paraguayan Fabrizio Zanotti and Englishman Jack Senior, who like Meronk, is chasing his first DP World Tour title.

Stalking a stroke further back on -12 are Norwegian Espen Kostad and American John Catlin, the 2020 Irish Open champion. Defending champion Lucas Herbert is also right in the hunt, two 68s to go with an opening 69 taking the Aussie to -11.

Meronk thinks, or at least hopes, he’s learned enough from his six top-10s this season to get the job done.That’s included  T4, T6 and T3 finishes at the Slync.io Dubai Desert Classic, Ras Al Khaimah Classic and Commercial Bank Qatar Masters respectively. In May there were T3, sixth and solo third placings at the Catalunya Championship, Soudal Open and Dutch Open.

“Well, I’m not going to try to force anything,” Meronk said when asked what he needs to get a DP World Tour win to add to a 2019 Challenge Tour in Portugal.

“I just stick to my strategy, just trust my routine, trust my targets. And that’s all I can do, to be honest, just go as slow as possible, and we will see at the end if it’s enough.

“I’m quite excited. Just happy with my score so far. Played pretty solid again today. And, yeah, can’t wait for tomorrow for sure,” said Meronk.

Catlin won the 2020 edition of the Island of Ireland’s national open at Galgorm Castle. So, same event, different venue but does that give you good vibes for Sunday?

“Yeah, for sure,” said Catlin. “My coach is actually part Irish as well, and he’s here this week. This is his first time coming over for the European Tour, or DP World Tour, I should say.

“And it’s nice having him here. He’s definitely kept me calm. And we’ve been able to put some good work in, and it’s paying off. So I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”

Soo too is Herbert who won at Mount Juliet and believes he can do it again.

“Definitely. I think winning last year, obviously winning Bermuda [his PGA Tour breakthrough last October] as well, I feel like I’ve been good at closing out tournaments of recent times, played well on Sunday. So, you know, that’s going to give me a lot of confidence going into tomorrow, to know that my game is — has the ability to stand up under the pressure,” the 26-year-old Victorian said.

“There’s obviously some other good players up there on that leaderboard that we’ve got to — yeah, I got to try and beat, which is a little different from last year. The leaderboard was a little thinner at the top there, wasn’t as many guys in with a chance.

“But, yeah, just got to go out and shoot a low one tomorrow and play boldly.”

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