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Rafa Cabrera Bello Ends Long Wait For Victory on Home Soil

By: | Mon 11 Oct 2021 | Comments


RAFA Cabrera Bello put months of misery behind him as he won a playoff against fellow Spaniard Adri Arnaus to claim the Spanish Open in front of a boisterous home gallery.

Cabrera Bello shot a 2-under 69 in the final round to finish tied at 19 under par for the tournament with Arnaus, who closed with a 67 and fell just short of his first European Tour victory. It was the fourth European Tour win for Cabrera Bello, but his first since the 2017 Scottish Open.

The 37-year-old Spaniard was second to Jon Rahm in the last edition in 2019. The tournament was not played last year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“I knew it was going to be a really hard battle today,” Cabrera Bello said. “I've been believing in myself and I’ve had an amazing support all this week. I was just hanging in there and I knew I would have an opportunity and I’m glad luck fell my way.”

The last Spaniard to win in Spain other than Rahm was Miguel Angel Jimenez in 2014. Cabrera Bello was the 13th Spaniard to win on home soil.

World No1 Rahm, who was a two-time defending champion, couldn’t make a move in the final round and shot 69 that left him in a disappointing tie for 17th on 13 under overall at the Club de Campo Villa de Madrid. The U.S. Open champion had started the day six shots off the lead and finished the same distance back.

Three players ended two shots off the lead - Frenchman Julien Guerrier (69), India’s Shubhankar Sharma (66) and Scotland’s Grant Forrest (65), who had a hole-in-one on the first round and finished with five birdies and an eagle on his last seven holes on Sunday.

Arnaus and Cabrera Bello were tied for the lead entering the last three holes and both had errant shots off the tee on the 18th. Cabrera Bello saved par from the greenside bunker while Arnaus hit it close with his approach but missed the birdie putt that would have given him the win. Both missed the fairway again on the 18th in the playoff, but Cabrera Bello went closer and rolled his putt for the victory.

PGA TOUR

THE machine that is Sungjae Im made eight birdies in a 10-hole stretch on his way to claiming a four-stroke victory and second PGA Tour title at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open

The Korean carded a nine-under 62 on the final day at TPC Summerlin to pull clear of the field and end the week on 24 under, four shots clear of Matthew Wolff.

Im started the day three behind but quickly raced into contention with a 30-foot birdie at the first and a 10-foot gain at the fourth, with back-to-back gains from the sixth and a tap-in birdie at the par-five ninth seeing him reach the turn in 30.

And the 23-year-old still wasn’t finished. He holed from 20 feet at the 10th and picked up further shots over each of his next three holes, before closing out his blemish-free round to secure a first win since the 2020 Honda Classic.

"I know I won my first win on my 50th start and to win my second PGA Tour win on my 100th start, that in itself is a pretty amazing stat," Im said. "It was hard coming, but I think today how everything went, I think it was a gift from above."

A resurgent Wolff got his game back on track by posting a runner-up finish for the second year running, having lost out to Martin Laird in a play-off last year, with the American mixing five birdies with two bogeys on his way to a closing 68.

Overnight leader Adam Schenk made three bogeys in the space of five holes on his front nine and ended the week tied-third with Rory Sabbatini and Marc Leishman, with Lanto Griffin and Adam Hadwin sharing sixth spot.

Harry Hall led the British contingent and ended the week in tied-eighth on 17 under, while defending champion Laird was a further shot back and Matt Wallace ended the week in tied-14th.


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