Cormac Sharvin can find consolation in defeat after struggling to find a spark to launch his title challenge on Sunday at the 57° Open de Portugal @ Morgado Golf Resort.
The Ardglass professional fired three birdies and three bogeys in a level par effort that saw him finish in a share of 5th at 10-under par.
But in good news for Sharvin, the 7,500 points gained for the result gave his hopes of securing a top-15 finish on the Road to Mallorca standings a significant boost, with Sharvin sitting pretty in sixth spot as he remains on track to earn European Tour status next season.
Meanwhile Rosapenna’s Ruaidhri McGee signed for a one-over par 73 to tie 25th at minus-four. The Island’s Paul McBride was a shot further adrift after carding his second successive 72 while West Waterford’s Gary Hurley banked a much needed four rounds as he returned a one-under par 71 for a share of 61st.
At the top, Adrian Meronk took a huge step towards becoming the first-ever Polish holder of a European Tour card by winning and breaking into the top-15 on the Road to Mallorca.
The 26-year-old posted a closing six under par round of 66 on a scorching hot day in the Algarve to reach 15 under par and secure a two-stroke victory ahead of Spain’s Sebastian Garcia Rodriguez, who finished second on 13-under par, with Italy’s Francesco Laporta and Austria’s Martin Wiegele two shots further back in tied third on 11-under par.
Meronk carded just a solitary bogey in his final round before signing off with two birdies in his last three holes to ensure he became the first Polish victor in European Challenge Tour history.
“I couldn’t be prouder of myself for being the first Polish winner on the Challenge Tour,” he said. “I’ve been getting a lot of messages from friends back home so I’m very appreciative of that and I’m very happy to be the first Polish winner on the Challenge Tour.
“It feels amazing. I’m very pleased and very happy. What a day. It’s fantastic and it was a very good day for me. I played very well and finally it was enough for me at the end to win the tournament.
“I’ve been pretty consistent this year and I’ve been playing well, especially at the start of the season, but I just couldn’t finish it off. That’s why I’m very relieved right now because it’s finally happened.”
Meronk’s mother, Joanna, joined him at Morgado Golf Resort all week and having that support along the fairways makes victory all the sweeter.
“It’s very special to have my mum here,” he said. “She was actually in Brno when I came third at the D+D REAL Czech Challenge so I guess she brings me some luck.
“I’m probably going to move quite a bit in the Rankings so it changes my season quite a lot. It probably still won’t be enough because there are still quite a few tournaments left, so I’ve just got to focus on the rest of the season. I’m going to take a week off now and just enjoy it.
“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.”
Four players shared fifth place on 10-under par, including overnight co-leaders Sharvin and Henric Sturehed, with five players a shot further back in tied ninth on nine under par.
With victory in Portugal, Meronk climbs 12 places in the Road to Mallorca Rankings to seventh place, with runner-up Garcia Rodriguez jumping 20 spots into 13th position.
There will now be a week’s break in the schedule, with the Challenge Tour returning for the final six events of the season at the Hopps Open de Provence from September 26-29, 2019.
Full scoring HERE