Cabrera Bello Moves To Fourth In Race To Dubai With Thrilling Play-Off Win At Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open
Rafa Cabrera Bello came from behind on a pulsating final day at Dundonald Links to win the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open in a sudden-death play-off with Englishman Callum Shinkwin.
The 33-year-old Spaniard, who entered the winner’s circle on the European Tour for the first time since his Omega Dubai Desert Classic triumph in 2012, claimed 1,019,896 points after triumphing in the fourth Rolex Series event of the season to move from 22nd to fourth place and up his season total to 1,665,921 in the European Tour's Race to Dubai.
A seventh outing was already well and truly secured for the man from Las Palmas in the season-ending DP World Tour Championship which takes place in his new home city of Dubai at Jumeirah Golf Estates from November 16-19 and Nick Tarratt, Director of the European Tour International Dubai office, said: “We congratulate Rafa on his first European Tour win in five years and look forward to welcoming him once again back ‘home’ to Dubai in November. He has a strong connection with this city having won the Omega Dubai Desert Classic and now living here so he’s a real fan favourite in the UAE.”
Cabrera Bello went into the final day at the picturesque Dundonald Links in Ayrshire four shots behind overnight leaders Shinkwin, Australian Andrew Dodt and Englisman Ian Poulter.
But he put on a clinical display in windy conditions, finishing strong with clutch birdies on the final two holes to sign for a superb course-record round of eight under par 64 and post the clubhouse lead.
Meanwhile 2015 Challenge Tour graduate Shinkwin was quietly going about his business as he stayed on top of the leaderboard for the majority of the day.
Ahead by one heading down the 18th, he had a chance to end things on the 72nd hole but he left his four-foot par putt just short to card his only bogey of the day and send him and Cabrera Bello to a play-off to determine a winner.
On the return trip down the 18th it was Cabrera Bello who came to the forefront with a pinpoint three-wood approach shot to within 12-feet to set-up an eagle chance while his opponent missed the green.
Cabrera Bello ended up missing his eagle putt but when Shinkwin failed to get up-and-down from the rough, it ensured the popular Spaniard would seal his second European Tour victory.
"I'm extremely happy," said Cabrera Bello who had finished runner-up six times since his last victory. "I've won before and I have been up there so many, many times with things not really working out for myself. I was starting to feel a little bit of pressure every time I was up there contending.
"I enjoy those pressure situations. I think they really define you."
In addition to booking his spot at The Open Championship at Royal Birkdale later this week, runner-up Shinkwin’s impressive performance in Scotland also sees him leapfrog from 151st to 19th in the Race to Dubai rankings, booking his ticket to the season-ending DP World Tour Championship, Dubai. His second-place finish, which resulted in him racking up 679,928 points for the tournament, took his overall point tally for the season to 768,891.
There was joy for the 24-year-old Frenchman and 2016 Challenge Tour graduate Matthieu Pavon, who also secured his place in the season finale with a lone third place finish. He moved from 100th to 33rd in the season rankings with a season points tally of 567,967.
Meanwhile fellow Challenge Tour graduate New Zealander Ryan Fox continued his rich vein of form as his tied fourth place finish at Dundonald Links took him from 28th to 14th in the Race to Dubai rankings with 825,556 points from what has been a hugely impressive rookie season.
England’s Anthony Wall gave himself a great chance of a return to Jumeirah Golf Estates for the first time since 2015 with a tied fourth place bagging him 223,236 points which saw him break into the all-important top 60 in the Race to Dubai at 53rd with 414,825 points for the season.
Two-time Open champion Irishman Padraig Harrington has also given himself a fighting chance to qualify for the season-ender in Dubai as his tied fourth place finish saw him move to 92nd place in the rankings as did Englishman Ian Poulter, who climbed to 80th thanks to a top ten finish.
Englishman Tommy Fleetwood remains at the head of the Race to Dubai Rankings with 3,634,431 points with Spaniard Sergio Garcia is in second with a season-tally of 2,701,628 points and fellow Spaniard Jon Rahm in third on 2,653,886.