Adrian Meronk became the first Polish player to win on the DP World Tour as a surging finish saw him claim the Irish Open at Mount Juliet.

Overnight leader Meronk birdied 15 and 16 before an eagle on 17 helped him card a six-under 66 and beat Ryan Fox by three shots.

New Zealand’s Fox hit seven birdies and an eagle but a bogey on the last dented his chances before Meronk raced clear.

Shane Lowry shot 67 to finish as the leading Irish player.

For a while, it looked as though Fox would avenge his 2018 Irish Open play-off defeat at Ballyliffin as the 35-year-old raced through the field on another day of low scoring in County Kilkenny.

Fox, 35, eagled the par-five 17th to reach 18 under but dropped a shot after missing the green.

Meronk’s response was emphatic. Trailing Fox by one, the 29-year-old drained a 24-foot putt for a birdie on 15 and backed it up with another gain on the next to move into the outright lead.

Needing to close with two pars, Meronk put the result beyond doubt by holing his eagle putt from off the front of the 17th green to move three clear.

“It’s such a relief, to be honest,” Meronk told Sky Sports.

“I’ve been coming quite close a couple of times this year and to finally open the door is just a dream come true. That’s why we practice every day and I’m super happy.”

Meronk, ranked 110th in the world, has been knocking on the door to the winners’ circle for a long time.

A runner-up in last year’s Italian Open, his six top-10 finishes this year prior to the Irish Open included a tie for third in Qatar and Catalunya, and a solo third at the Dutch Open, where Fox lost in a play-off.

But when Fox’s bogey presented the Pole with a chance, he finished the job in hugely impressive fashion in front of a sell-out crowd at Mount Juliet.

While he birdied the second and fourth holes, a bogey at the sixth temporarily derailed his progress before he steadied the ship with three pars.

A birdie at the par-five 10th was followed by another four pars before his putter caught fire down the stretch, sinking putts from 24, 12 and 24 feet from the 15th to put Fox and the chasing pack in his rear-view mirror and join the likes of Seve Ballesteros, Nick Faldo, Jon Rahm and Rory McIlroy as an Irish Open winner.

“I love it, I love it,” Meronk added when asked about being a role model for Polish players.

“I’m not stopping, I’m gonna keep going forward and it’s just another step for me. I’m super excited (to win) here in Ireland, such a great history. I can’t describe it.

“I was imagining this picture yesterday, what it might look like and it looked exactly how I imagined it and it was an unbelievable feeling.

“To hit such a good shot on the last hole, I’m super proud of myself and my caddie.”

Evidence of the favourable scoring conditions was provided early on Sunday by three-time major winner Padraig Harrington.

The newly-crowned US Senior Open champion rolled back the years as he turned in a six-under 30, but a double bogey seven at the 10th ruined his chances of posting a possible top-10 finish as he shot 69.

Lowry, who attracted big crowds all week, hit six birdies in a 67 as the 2019 Open champion finished in a tie for ninth.

Seamus Power represented the strongest possibility of an Irish winner with a pair of 68s putting the Waterford man in contention at the halfway mark.

And while his hopes were dashed with a 77 on Saturday, the world number 36 closed with a 68 to finish alongside Harrington on seven under.

American John Catlin, the 2020 winner, Scotland’s David Law and Paraguay’s Fabrizio Zanotti finished in a tie for fourth to each claim a spot for The Open Championship at St Andrews later this month.