Written by
Mark Lamport-Stokes
Feb 10 2024
- 4 min
Meronk wave

LAS VEGAS – Perhaps the most encouraging sign for the all-European Cleeks at LIV Golf Las Vegas was the impressive form produced by Poland's Adrian Meronk at Las Vegas Country Club.

2023 DP World Tour Player of the Year Meronk, recruited by the Cleeks shortly before the start of this season, struggled in his opening event last week after suffering food poisoning in Mexico. He was the only Cleeks player to endure a challenging week at the season-opening LIV Golf Mayakoba as he wound up in 47th spot.

Fast forward to this week, however, and it was a very different story. Meronk opened with a sparkling 3-under 67 at Las Vegas Country Club and then followed up with successive scores of 68 - the last of them achieved on a difficult day for scoring in strong winds.

The 30-year-old, who was born in Hamburg, Germany, mixed six birdies with four bogeys on a chilly Saturday in the Mojave Desert to end up in ninth place at 7-under. Meronk's individual statistics during the week made impressive reading. He tied for fourth in fairways hit (with 29), ranked fifth for greens in regulation (with 43) and tied for eighth for birdies (with a total of 14).

All this after his teammate Richard Bland had predicted much better things for the Pole after his frustrating week in Mexico: "We all know what Adrian can do. He's world class, and I think he's going to have a great year."

Englishman Bland, the most consistent player for the Cleeks last year, ended his week in Las Vegas tied for 15th place at 5-under after shooting scores of 69, 65 and 71. His statistics were also impressive. Bland ranked joint seventh for fairways hit (with 28) and he led the way for greens in regulation (with 46).

Kalle Samooja, who like Meronk was signed by Cleeks GC before the start of this season, ended a very satisfactory week in Las Vegas by carding a 2-under 68 to secure a share of 26th place at 3-under. The 36-year-old from Finland, who earned his spot in the LIV Golf League by winning the LIV Golf Promotions event last December, has already shown that he is a worthy addition after just two events.

The only Cleeks player to struggle on Saturday was captain Martin Kaymer who ended a challenging week with a 6-over 76 that included seven bogeys and a sole birdie at the par-4 third. That left him in a tie for 51st place at 7-over.

With all four scores counting in the final round in Las Vegas, the Cleeks finished ninth in the team standings with a 9-under total. This follows their eighth place at the season-opening LIV Golf Mayakoba in Mexico.

Based on this start to their 2024 campaign, the Cleeks will certainly feel that a much more successful season now lies ahead of them compared to last year.

After the first eight LIV Golf events of 2023, Cleeks GC had racked up five 12th-place finishes, along with just two top-10s. Then came the team's strong finish to the regular season as they went 6-7-9-9 before ending with a flourish to secure their first podium spot of the year with third place on the team leaderboard at LIV Golf Jeddah presented by ROSHN.