04 Dec 2022 | Australian Open |
Polish iceman overcomes boyhood hero
by Australian Golf Media
By Tony Webeck
Poland’s greatest ever golfer Adrian Meronk stared down his boyhood idol Adam Scott to claim a five-stroke victory at the ISPS HANDA Australian Open.
The first Polish golfer to win on the DP World Tour when he was victorious at the Irish Open in July, Meronk took just two starts of the new season to register a second, closing with a round of four-under 66 to win the PGA Tour of Australasia co-sanctioned national championship at Victoria Golf Club.
One stroke back of Scott at the start of the final round, it took just one hole for the leaderboard positions to be switched.
As Min Woo Lee began with an eagle to put his case forward for the Stonehaven Cup, Meronk’s birdie and Scott’s bogey turned the script on its head.
The 29-year-old didn’t miss a fairway or a green for the first 12 holes, blinking just once when his approach to the par-4 13th trickled off into the right-side bunker.
A birdie at 15 was countered by a bogey at 17 – the toughest hole all week – but Scott’s double bogey at the penultimate hole after his tee shot went out of bounds gave the world No.56 a three-shot buffer playing the 72nd hole.
He turned that lead into a five-stroke winning margin with a brilliant chip-in for eagle from the back-right of the 18th green for a spectacular finish to a round of four-under 66.
“I’m super excited and to finish like that on the 18th hole is just unreal,” said Meronk, Scott posting a two-over 72 on Sunday.
“I felt really good again today. I kept doing what I’ve done the last two days and it worked pretty well. I’m super proud of myself, proud of my team and super happy right now.”
Min Woo Lee took third spot with a final round of one-under 69 and one of the three spots on offer to the 2023 Open Championship at Royal Liverpool.
Joining Lee at Hoylake will be Spaniard Alejandro Canizares, whose six-under 64 was the round of the day, and West Australian Haydn Barron (70) who finished birdie-eagle to join Canizares in a share of fourth and snatch the third ticket to The Open.
In the Women’s Australian Open South African Ashleigh Buhai (73) added to her AIG Women’s Open win with a one-stroke victory over Jiyai Shin (75) and England’s Kipp Popert produced a brilliant three-under 69 to win the Australian All Abilities Championship by seven strokes.
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