Adrian Meronk
Meronk shares the lead at LIV Golf Jeddah Image Credit: LIV Golf

Dubai resident Adrian Meronk got off to a flyer at LIV Golf Jeddah, carding seven birdies and an eagle to top the leaderboard alongside Jon Rahm on day one at Royal Greens Golf & Country Club.

The Pole hadn’t been at his best in the previous two events in Mexico and Las Vegas after suffering with illness, but after recovering during a three-week break from competitive action, the 30-year-old showed why the Saudi-backed circuit were so keen to get his signature.

The DP World Tour Player of the Year didn’t get off to the best of starts with a bogey at the 16th, his second hole of the day, but bounced back with five birdies in his next seven holes.

Three consecutive pars followed before moving up a gear once again, picking up four shots in his next four holes courtesy of two birdies and chip-in eagle on the tenth.

He parred his way home to sign for an eight under par 62, joining three-time DP World Tour Championship winner Rahm at the summit of the leaderboard on eight under par after the Spaniard finished his round with three birdies.

“I played very solid,” said Meronk, who recently brought property in Dubai Marina.

“To be honest, I didn’t get off to a hot start, but in the middle of the round and towards the end I played quite nicely and holed a lot of putts. Overall, a very solid day.

“I’m feeling way better this week than my first two weeks. I had some quality practice time in Dubai last week, so I’m happy with where my game is at – it’s a big difference from Las Vegas.”

The talk of the town prior to the tournament was the return of American cult hero Anthony Kim, who was making his first professional start since withdrawing from the PGA Tour’s Wells Fargo Championship in 2012.

The 38-year-old struggled against the backdrop of the Red Sea, finishing the day in 54th after carding seven bogeys and one birdie to sign for a 76.

It’s safe to say it’s not the return to competitive action both the league and Kim would have wanted given the hype around his return, but for a first professional round in 12 years it was a steady effort and gives him a platform to build on over the weekend and the remainder of the season.

Bryson DeChambeau, Joaquin Niemann and Charl Schwartzel shot 63 to sit in a share of third, with former Open Championship winner Louis Oosthuizen a shot further back in sixth.