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Home : Golf NewsBack to News

Cabrera-Bello wins Scottish Open

 

Rafael Cabrera-Bello had been playing some quality golf this year without being able to break the winning tape - that was until Sunday's final round of the Scottish Open at storied Dundonald Links in Scotland.

This time things were different. Very different.

Shrugging away his winless drought of more than five years, the 33-year-old Las Palmas-born Spaniard came storming home with a stunning 8-under-par course record 64 that enabled him to reel in the day-long front runner Callum Shinkwin (68) and then win the playoff at the first extra hole to capture his third European Tour title.

And this in the week following fellow Spaniard Jon Rahm's triumph at the Irish Open and a few months after compatriot Sergio Garcia's Major breakthrough at the Masters.

Shinkwin, an exciting 23-year-old newcomer from Hertfordshire who beat former world No 1 amateur Matthew Fitzpatrick 4&3 in the English Amateur in 2013, seemed to have his first European Tour title well within his grasp when he arrived at the edge of the green at the par-5 final hole needing a chip and two putts to make the winning par.

Inexplicably he stumbled. Cabrera-Bello, sitting in the clubhouse with a 13-under 275 total, saw the previously composed young Englishman nervously take four strokes to get his ball into the hole and slip back into a playoff he was destined to lose when he and Cabrera-Bello went back to the 18th for the first extra hole.

Here the high-flying Spaniard arrowed a majestic approach to the green that left him with no more than a tap-in putt for the winning birdie

"I am extremely happy," Cabrera-Bellow said after his victory - but he didn't have to. His smile and his body language said it all

"I have been up there so many, many times without things really working out for me. I was starting to feel a little bit of pressure every time I was up there contending.

"So, yes, I'm really, really happy how I played today. I mean, in the playoff, I really gave it a go and am extremely pleased it worked out for me."

An added Bonus for Cabrera-Bello; after this victory over a strong international field - he is expected to move from No 31 in the World Rankings into the top-20s ahead of this week's Open Championship,

Shinkwin's disappointment was eased by the fact that he was one of the three front-runners not already qualified who earned a place in Thursday's British Open tee-off at Royal Birkdale - and also in knowing that his heroics had clinched for him his Tour card for next year.

"It's been a very good week win Rafael and at the end of the day, I was more than happy to finish second even though the win was on my mind and didn't happen," he said.

"This result is massively important to me, not only because it's put me in the Open, but also because, hopefully, it will help me qualify for the Race to Dubai finals."

Frenchman Matthieu Pavon, a 24-year-old Tour rookie who fired a 66 to finish alone in third place on Sunday, three strokes behind the leading duo, and who captured the second of the three tickets up for grabs for Royal Birkdale, said: "I played great yesterday and today, but I finished badly with a double-bogey on 18 yesterday, so it was with a bit of revenge today that I started well and everything went in the right direction.

"And to now be playing in my first Open, my first major in my first full season is going to be very special. I am very happy."

Australian Andrew Dodt (73), who was planning to travel with his wife to New York on Monday for a five-day holiday, tied for fourth with England's Anthony Wall (69), American Matt Kuchar (69), Ireland's Padraig Harrington (66) and New Zealand's Ryan Fox (70) to secure the third Birkdale ticket and as a result had to rush off and cancel a holiday visit he and his wife were planning to make to New York.

"Yeah, tomorrow morning my wife and I were meant to be off to New York," he said, "But I'm pretty happy to be going to Birkdale and my first major," he said.

"In fact, I am over the moon. Over the moon. It's been a big goal of mine, sort of the back end of last year and this year to play my first major, and yeah, next week will bring it on."

LEADING SCORES
(Par 72)

275 Rafael Cabrera-Bello (ESP) 70 72 69 64 who beat Callum Shinkwin (ENG) 67 68 72 68 at the first extra hole of the sudden death playoff
278 Matthieu Pavon (FRA) 69 74 69 66
280 Anthony Wall (ENG) 71 71 69 69, Andrew Dodt (AUS) 67 69 71 73, Matt Kuchar (USA) 68 70 73 69, Padraig Harrington (IRE) 67 68 79 66, Ryan Fox (NZL) 72 69 69 70
281 Robert Rock (ENG) 73 69 73 66, Soren Kjeldsen (DEN) 71 72 70 68, Rickie Fowler (USA) 67 70 74 70, Andy Sullivan (ENG) 70 72 67 72, Ian Poulter (ENG) 67 69 71 74, Lee Slattery (ENG) 75 68 70 68
282 Branden Grace (RSA) 75 67 72 68, Thomas Bjorn (DEN) 72 71 72 67, Johan Carlsson (SWE) 73 69 68 72, Bernd Ritthammer (GER) 72 69 70 71
283 Paul Peterson (USA) 67 76 75 65, Richard Sterne (RSA) 73 69 71 70, Richard Bland (ENG) 69 74 68 72, Graeme McDowell (NIR) 75 68 68 72, Andrew Johnston (ENG) 73 68 70 72, Nicolas Colsaerts (Belgium) 70 67 78 68, Adrian Otaegui (Spain) 73 66 73 71
284 Romain Wattel (FRA) 72 69 77 66, Alexander Levy (FRA) 72 66 76 70, Paul Dunne (IRE) 68 73 69 74, Henrik Stenson (SWE) 72 69 75 68, Alexander Knappe (GER) 70 65 76 73, Jorge Campillo (ISP) 72 69 73 70.

Neville Leck

For info email neville@golfweather.com.

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