Written by
Mark Lamport-Stokes, LIV Golf Correspondent
Apr 23 2024
- 4 MIN
Blank Cleeks Adelaide preview image

ADELAIDE, South Australia – Englishman Richard Bland has a hunch that there is "good stuff coming" for Cleeks GC as the all-European combination heads into this week's LIV Golf Adelaide at The Grange Golf Club.

Although the Cleeks have yet to taste team victory in the LIV Golf League, they have come close a couple of times this season before running out of steam on the last day.

According to the ever-reliable Bland, the Cleeks are "trending in the right direction" and all they need this week is a little bit of luck in the final round on a layout that is expected to run fast and firm.

"It's just a question of coming together for all three rounds," the 51-year-old Englishman said while preparing for Friday's opening round. "We seem to get about two and a half of it and we've just got to finish the job off basically.

"That's kind of the story for us - if we have a day where we're maybe not at the races, it seems like all of us are not there whereas you always need two guys to be playing well at a minimum, and certainly on the Sunday you need three to play well and one to be okay. At the end of the day, everybody on our team is out there giving it 100 percent. And so, if it is that you have a poor day, that's fine. We can live with that. I think there's good stuff coming round for us."

Two events ago, at last month's LIV Golf Hong Kong, the Cleeks contended strongly for team honors and held the lead for an extended time during the final round before slipping back into fifth spot.

"Of course, we've all got to play well and you do need a little bit of luck," said Bland. "What happened there in Hong Kong, a couple of our guys had a bad hole at the same time and suddenly we went from two in front to two or three behind. One team makes a couple of birdies, another team makes a couple of bogeys and there you go - that's four shots. And that's the beauty of Sunday when it's all four (scores) to count - you get that volatility in the scoring."

It was a similar story in their most recent start, at LIV Golf Miami earlier this month. The Cleeks were placed fourth after the second round at Trump National Doral and, with the ultra-consistent Bland and new signee Adrian Meronk playing good golf, a rare podium spot was firmly in their sights.

However, both Bland and Meronk failed to capitalize after making good starts to the final round and the Cleeks had slipped five spots in the pecking order by the time the final putt of the day dropped.

"We were doing quite well going into the last round in Miami and then we had not a great day," said Bland. "We were all one or two over par - and we suddenly went from fourth to ninth. That's how easy it is on Sunday to move up or move down. It's all about doing the right things at the right time. It's all got to come together.

"It's not like you've got to do anything different in the way you approach anything ... you've just got to go out there, play the best you can and hopefully the other guys will follow suit. I think we're kind of trending in the right direction."

Although his team is placed 11th out of 13 in the standings heading into this week's event, Bland has a good feeling about how the par-72 Grange layout sets up for Cleek GC.

"I wouldn't say it's a bomber's course," said Bland, who leads the league for greens in regulation this season with a percentage of 75.19. "There are a few holes where it helps if you hit it further, certainly the par-fives, but it will probably play firm and fast this week so accuracy is more of a key around here.

"If the greens firm up, you want to be playing from the fairways. We all drive the ball pretty well so there's no reason why we can't all do well here. Hopefully we will be right up there come Sunday."