‘I had my chances, but finishing second to the World No. 2 has a nice ring to it,' says Meronk

When Rory is in the mood he really is tough to catch and I am always so impressed because he seems to know how to be aggressive but also play safe

By Adrian Meronk

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Adrian Meronk tees off in the final round of the HERO Dubai Desert Classic at the Emirates Golf Club. - KT Photo by Shihab
Adrian Meronk tees off in the final round of the HERO Dubai Desert Classic at the Emirates Golf Club. - KT Photo by Shihab

Published: Mon 22 Jan 2024, 9:02 AM

I can look back at missed opportunities this week and shots left out there, but second place in a ROLEX Series event and only being beaten by the World Number 2 has a nice ring about it.

It was a tense final day at the Emirates Golf Club’s demanding Majlis course as the last rounds at the HERO Dubai Desert Classic have come to be known for.

But, even though there were a couple of hiccups along the way, I’m pretty pleased with my final round of 71 which helped me finish runner-up13 under par. It was just what I wanted and needed.

There was everything to play for under the typically bright Dubai skies and I had a front nine of two over 37, thanks to a double on hole seven and a bogey on nine. After the birdie three on the third, there was a three-way tie at the top of the leaderboard with Cameron Young, Rory McIlroy and myself.

Cameron had a two-bogey front nine of 37 and he finished his round in two over par 74 to drop to in third.

When Rory is in the mood he really is tough to catch. He had a three-birdie 32 on his front nine which was followed by a birdie less 38. But it was still good enough to pip me. Even if by only one shot.

Adrian Meronk relentlessly pushed World No. 2 Rory McIlroy during a pulsating final day's play at the HERO Dubai Desert Classic on Sunday. - KT Photo by Shihab
Adrian Meronk relentlessly pushed World No. 2 Rory McIlroy during a pulsating final day's play at the HERO Dubai Desert Classic on Sunday. - KT Photo by Shihab

Often that’s the difference between winning and losing as we have seen so often in the past.

I am always so impressed because Rory seems to know how to be aggressive but also play safe at the same time. I suppose he should be as he has four Majors on his CV with surely more to come – perhaps this season.

I was tied fourth in 2022 at this event on eight-under-par with the winning score of 12 under from Viktor Hovland. I am liking this tournament more and more and I have only played in four editions so far.

I am now in second place in the season-long Race to Dubai. Fingers crossed my OWGR can move in the right direction over the next few weeks on the PGA Tour.

It will be a while until I see you all back in Dubai, perhaps at the end of the season at Jumeirah Golf Estates for the DP World Tour Championship. My schedule is now very fluid as I am committed to playing on the PGA Tour with my Number One card status and privileges.

These days everyone’s season has to have a fast start and I feel I have done that on the DP World Tour with last week’s Dubai Invitational down the road at Dubai Creek Resort where I finished 10th and this week’s strong finish at the Majlis.

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I am hoping for another fast start next week on the PGA Tour at the Farmers Insurance Open at Torey Pines in San Diego which finishes on Saturday to apparently avoid TV broadcast challenges against the NFL.

Thanks for everyone’s support in person and remotely

Happy golfing and stay healthy all you Khaleej Times readers.

Poland’s Adrian Meronk is 30 years old, a Dubai resident and a four-time winner on the DP World Tour.


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