Written by
Mark Lamport-Stokes, LIV Golf Correspondent
Jun 25 2024
- 4 MIN
Cleeks Nash Recap STORY image

COLLEGE GROVE, Tennessee - Two weeks after celebrating their first ever team victory, the Cleeks avoided any chance of an emotional hangover by ending a satisfactory three days of work at the inaugural LIV Golf Nashville in a share of sixth place.

The ever-reliable Richard Bland fired a 5-under 66 in the final round at The Grove to finish at 10-under, in a tie for ninth in the individual standings. LIV Golf Promotions winner Kalle Samooja closed with a 69, 2023 DP World Tour Player of the Year Adrian Meronk carded a 70 and captain Martin Kaymer signed off with a 74.

That left the all-European combination at 19-under after the three rounds, level with Ripper GC and 15 strokes outside a podium spot.

All in all, though, a very respectable week for the Cleeks who could well have succumbed to the mental hangover that so often follows success in any sport.

Captain Kaymer led the way for his team on day one at The Grove, firing a 3-under 68 that included three consecutive birdies and a total of six. Bland returned a 70 and Samooja a 71 as the Cleeks ended the round in a share of sixth place in the team standings at 4-under.

Meronk was their standout player on day two, racking up five birdies in a bogey-free 66 while Bland reeled off four birdies in a five-hole stretch to card a 67 and climb into a tie for 14th in the individual standings. Kaymer returned a 70 as the Cleeks remained in sixth place in the team standings.

With Bland, Samooja and Meronk all dipping under par in Sunday's final round, the Cleeks were able to maintain their position in the top half of the team standings by the time the final putts of the tournament had dropped.

Polish professional Meronk has fully embraced the Cleeks' close camaraderie since he joined the team before the start of this season, and that bond certainly helped them avoid an emotional hangover at The Grove.

"That's what's cool about LIV, to have three other guys with you on the team," said Meronk, who closed with a 4-under 68 at LIV Golf Houston to finish second on the individual leaderboard. "And even if you don't win or you don't perform as you want individually, you still have the team standings.

"It's great to have on Sunday four scores counting because anything can happen. Even though sometimes you don't play your best individually, you still want to have your team performing well, and you still keep grinding. That's what's cool about the team environment and the team leaderboard. I'm super proud to be on the team with all these guys."

The Cleeks currently sit seventh in the points standings - less than 32 points outside third place, which is the final seed to earn a first-round bye for the season-ending Team Championship to be played at Maridoe Golf Club in Texas from September 20-22.

Having finished second, first and sixth in their last three LIV Golf starts, the Cleeks have a good chance of securing a coveted top-three spot with four tournaments left in the regular season.

"The strength among the team has been awesome, and with the caddies, we all get along well," said Samooja. "The team managers out here, they're all good, they take care of us well. We have really a good group of people around us. I'm really looking forward for the last part of the season."

The next event is the July 12-14 LIV Golf Andalucia, which will be held at Real Club Valderrama in Spain.