Daily Express


Meronk eyeing a Ryder Cup debut

- By Neil Squires Chief Sports Reporter

ADRIAN MERONK believes his Italian Open triumph will have turned Luke Donald’s head as he aims to become the first Pole to play in the Ryder Cup.

Meronk, who broke into the world’s top 50 for the first time yesterday, had already impressed Europe’s captain by holing the winning putt in the Hero Cup matchplay encounter between Continenta­l Europe and Great Britain and Ireland in Abu Dhabi.

But his victory on Sunday – which came in front of captain Donald on the same Marco Simone course where the clash with the United States will be staged in September – has made an even stronger horsesfor-courses case for his inclusion.

“It was definitely on my mind, performing well in front of Luke,” said Meronk, 29. “I saw him in the locker room before the final round and he said, ‘Keep it going, good luck’, so those were nice, encouragin­g words.

“It might help but there’s still a lot of time left. I’ve to work on my game and get better to make the team.”

While Meronk still lies outside the automatic qualifying places for Rome, it was his third win on the DP World Tour in 10 months.

His success on a narrow course that plays to his straight-driving strengths means Donald is set to consider him for one of his six wild cards, even if he does not make the team by rights.

“Superb win for @AdrianMero­nk,” tweeted Donald. “Came up with the right shots when he needed them, starting to make winning a habit.”

LIV defections have taken out five of the team thrashed two years ago, so even if Donald brings back Justin Rose and Francesco Molinari, Europe will need to blood some new faces.

Nicolai Hojgaard, top points scorer in the desert dress rehearsal in January, boosted his debut chances by finishing joint fifth in Rome.

 ?? ?? WINNING HABIT Meronk’s Rome victory was his third DP World Tour title triumph in 10 months
WINNING HABIT Meronk’s Rome victory was his third DP World Tour title triumph in 10 months

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