Two former East Tennessee State golfers have turned into stars on the international stage, and it seems the sky is the limit for Seamus Power and Adrian Meronk.
Power is ranked No. 1 in the early FedEx Cup standings on the PGA Tour while Meronk is No. 2 in the DP World Tour (formerly European Tour) rankings.
The 29-year-old Meronk won the Irish Open in July and captured his second victory in the Australian Open last week. That win moved him to 52nd in the World Golf Rankings.
Power, 35, picked up his second PGA Tour victory in Bermuda in October. In addition, the Irishman is ranked 28th in the world and is on the list of Ryder Cup players who would qualify for the European team if the cutoff point was now.
“They’re both good guys,” said retired ETSU coach Warren, who recruited the two. “I’m glad to see them succeed. These two guys are both great representatives of ETSU and the golf program.”
During their time at ETSU — Power graduated in 2010 and Meronk in 2016 — they each won five tournaments and both earned All-American academic awards.
“They both have the ability to shoot low scores,” Warren said. “When they were on their game, they could shoot very low scores. They weren’t always consistent, especially Seamus, who could go from low to high. But if he was on, he could shoot 63, 64, 65. The same with Adrian.
“I think the main thing for Seamus is he stayed with it.
“He was kind of a late developer. If he hadn’t stayed with it for a number of years when he was developing, then he wouldn’t be where he is. I think he looked at the long view.”
Illustrating that “long view” is a story from Power’s freshman year. After Power won the Atlantic Sun Conference tournament, the team was riding back to Johnson City in the van. Power told Warren he was sad.
“I asked him why,” Warren said. “He said, ‘I just realized that when I’m out on Tour and winning that Tiger will be past his prime. I wanted to play against him in his prime and that kind of makes me sad.’ It’s funny that that has happened. Seamus is winning and Tiger is past his prime.”
Warren recalls a time shortly after Power turned pro and was banging around the mini-tours. When Warren asked why he wasn’t playing in a tournament that week, Power said he had about only $1,000 and he needed to work on his game before he went back.
Fast-forward to today and Power has banked $9,476,927 in PGA Tour career earnings. That accounting degree he earned at ETSU is coming in pretty handy these days, just not that way he envisioned it.
“Seamus was a constant learner,” Warren said. “Obviously, he’s very intelligent, graduating magna laude.”
Meronk is the first Polish golfer to earn a European Tour card and, of course, he’s the first to win.
“Even as a teenager, Adrian probably was the best golfer in Poland,” Warren said. “I think this was his destiny, to be on the Tour, and that carries a lot of pressure. Adrian, probably more than any player that I’ve had, was made for the big stage. Being from Poland, which isn’t really a golfing country, I think he had that little aura that he was he was meant to do something special.”
Warren discovered Power when he went to Ireland to recruit Rory McIlroy and Gareth Shaw. As is well known, McIlroy signed a letter-of-intent with ETSU before deciding not to attend college.
Meronk had written letters to nine college coaches, wanting to attend a school that had success with international players. Among ETSU’s competition for Poland’s top player were Stanford, Texas A&M and Augusta, where current Bucs coach Jake Amos played collegiately and won a national championship.
Amos says having two former ETSU players doing so well as pros can only help in recruiting.
“Everyone is starting to pay attention to them,” Amos said. “Seamus is obviously dominating in America and Adrian is doing really well on the European Tour. It’s a nice little one-two combo. We’re going to mention their names as much as we can. I’ll send them some ETSU gear and hopefully they can kind of represent our brand a little bit on the road.”