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Adrian Meronk wins on Ryder Cup course; European captain takes notice

If Adrian Meronk is going to return to Italy this September as a rookie member of the European Ryder Cup team, his victory Sunday on the host course certainly boosted those chances.

Meronk, a towering 29-year-old from Poland, was the only player in the DS Automobiles Italian Open field to shoot under par all four days, and on Sunday he fired a 2-under 69 around Marco Simone Golf Club outside of Rome to edge France’s Romain Langasque by a shot.

With European captain Luke Donald sticking around the tournament after missing the cut, Meronk made the most of his latest audition.

“It was definitely on my mind coming here, performing well in front of Luke,” Meronk said. “I think it might help, but there’s still a lot of time left. I still have to work on my game and get better to make the team.”

Up one with nine holes to play, Meronk twice saw Langasque pull even with him, lastly after a bogey at No. 15. But Meronk birdied the next hole, a short par-4, and then holed a 15-footer from off the green at the par-3 17th hole. Langasque chipped in for birdie at No. 17 and also birdied the par-5 finishing hole, though a closing birdie by Meronk, from 7 feet, earned Meronk his third career DP World Tour title and second of the season following his win at the Australian Open last December.

Meronk’s victory on Sunday bolsters a Ryder Cup resume that was lacking a bit as Meronk, playing sparingly this year with just nine worldwide starts prior to this week, boasted five top-25s but just two of those top-10s since capping last year with his win Down Under.

He had slipped to No. 63 in the Official World Ranking, too, but come Monday, Meronk projects to move back inside the top 50 and likely just outside the top 10 highest-ranked European players. He also jumped 11 spots in European points to fifth, two spots out of being in position for an automatic Ryder Cup berth.

Perhaps just as importantly, Meronk also has earned some added praise from Donald himself.

“Superb win for @AdrianMeronk,” Donald tweeted Sunday. “Some solid golf played all week and came up with the right shots when he needed them most, starting to make winning a habit. Well done, Adrian.”

Two other Ryder Cup hopefuls, Nicolai Hojgaard and Victor Perez, finished T-5 and T-9, respectively. Yannick Paul, who is currently third in European points, was T-23.