Poland has taken its first, impressive step on the global golf stage with the achievement of 18-year-old ADRIAN MERONK in finishing top of the World Junior Golf Series Rankings ahead of players from most of the leading golfing countries.
The plus-two handicapper clinched his top-of-the series place by earning a play-off for first place against the American Cody Proveaux when they both shot five under par for 54 holes in the final tournament, The Gate American Junior.
The World Junior Golf Series is an international tour structure designed to showcase the best junior players (ages 12-19) on the world stage, described as ‘shadowing the ambitious operational concept of the Harder German Junior Masters as well as other highly recognised events around the world’.
The World Junior Golf Series began with five international tournaments and plans to grow to ten in the forthcoming years. Qualifiers earn the chance to apply for a scholarship to the Foundation’s golf academy located at Jacksonville, Florida.
Adrian then, after Christmas, played at the Orange Bowl in a tournament unofficially classed as World Junior Championship. After three days he was leading but, being unused to playing four round tournaments, finished 11th, and consequently now ranks No. 2 Junior in the world.
This success has opened up to him all the gates to the best colleges in the USA. Adrian´s home coach, Matthew Tipper, is the Head Professional at the Leadbetter Academy at the Toya GC, the only Leadbetter Academy in Poland.
Meronk’s success is a well-earned reward for PGAs of Europe members Poland’s ambitious and well-structured campaign to establish themselves as a challenging golfing nation by virtue of their firm dedication to a philosophy of education.
Further indication of Poland’s progress at this level was provided by Meronk’s Toya GC clubmate Mateusz Gradecki and by Jan Szmidt who also featured well in the series.
Marek Podstolski, president of the PGA of Poland has worked ceaselessly to instill a golfing culture into the eastern European nation that is virtually a newcomer to the sport on the last decade, attending PGAs of Europe events at every opportunity in pursuit of the necessary knowledge and experience.
This philosophy was furthered by Education Committee recognition of its training programme and by aid from the Ryder Cup Europe Development Trust and was underlined by a PGAs of Europe 5-Star Professional award for Mike O’Brien, the PGAP’s head of training.
“I am proud as the PGA of Poland for Adrian Meronk’s success, and in particular of Mike O’Brien and Filip Naglak, who are in charge of junior coaching for the Polish Golf Union,” said the Polish PGA president. “As we said 4-5 years ago in one of our brochures ‘first we have to educate our golf teachers, then the golf coaches. Then we may start to train the juniors’.
“It is very satisfying that this has proved to be correct…and, perhaps, in a shorter time than we may have expected.
“Adrian is definitely to attend a college in the USA, where he is going to experience week-by-week tournaments and championships. If he works hard on his game, and course management, we might have someone following a similar career path to Luke Donald and others like him. At the moment we are, of course, very excited, but we do know that we need more Adrians to break through into the professional game at the highest level.”
Ian Randell, the PGAs of Europe chief executive was equally enthusiastic about the Polish breakthrough into the world golfing arena, albeit at junior level. “It shows the results of hard work and building the correct foundations,” he said.
“This was a magnificent performance by young Adrian and an indication, maybe that more such fine players will emerge through the Polish training programme.”