The 2019 Portuguese Open, held at the Morgado Golf Resort, Portimao, has served up yet another terrific Algarve golfing occasion. Staged just weeks before the Portugal Masters at Vilamoura, the ’Open saw Poland’s Adrian Meronk become Poland’s first Challenge Tour winner, and also take a huge step towards becoming his country’s first-ever European Tour card holder following victory at the event’s 57th edition. Now, depending on other results on the Challenge Tour, the 26-year-old has a real chance of creating even more golfing history for his country.
Meronk posted a closing 6 under par round of 66 to reach 15 under, and an unassailable two-stroke lead over Spain’s Sebastian Garcia Rodriguez, in second place. Italy’s Francesco Laporta and Austria’s Martin Wiegele, two shots further back, tied for third on 11 under par.
Carding just one bogey in the final round, the Pole secured victory with two birdies in his last three holes for Poland’s first ever European Challenge Tour triumph. When he described his emotions afterwards, the significance of his achievement was clearly not lost on the champion: “I couldn’t be prouder of myself for being the first Polish winner on the Challenge Tour. It’s my third year as a professional and I had a long amateur career, so I’ve been waiting a long time for this and it feels very, very good that it’s finally happened.”
On the opening days, the home-grown players had begun in the Algarve sunshine, but the anticipated strong challenge ultimately faded during the final rounds. Despite some very encouraging performances and scores posted by Portuguese players, including, José-Filipe Lima, Hugo Santos, Tiago Cruz, and Joao Ramos, it was compatriot Pedro Silva who graced the winner’s enclosure when collecting the event’s top amateur prize. Once again, the Algarve showcased a sensational international tournament, and further reinforced the region’s status as a world class golfing location.
Photo: Octávio Passos/GolfTattoo