DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES | Rafael
Cabrera-Bello has won just twice on the
European Tour, but in each, he produced
near-flawless final rounds.
On Sunday, in the desert, the 27-year-old
Spaniard produced a bogey-free 68 to slip past
overnight leader Lee Westwood and Stephen
Gallacher by a stroke at the Omega Dubai
Desert Classic, his biggest win to date.
His breakthrough victory on the Tour came
in the late summer of 2009 at the Austrian Golf
Open, fashioning one of the great rounds of the
year, a final-day 60, to storm through the field.
Cabrera-Bello, who finished with a 72-hole
total of 18-under 270 to earn the first prize
of €315,532, becomes the third Spaniard in
succession to have triumphed in Dubai, following Miguel Angel Jiménez in 2010 and Alvaro
Quiros in 2011.
Cabrera-Bello, the first-round leader after a
scintillating 63, nudged ahead of the field with
three birdies on the incoming nine, including a crucial three on the 17th, as his rivals
struggled to make headway in breezy
Westwood, who had led by two
strokes in the morning following
an eagle but was off form on the
greens, and Scotland’s Gallacher
both missed putts on the 18th to
force a playoff.
now finished as
this event on
yet he walked
away with a small consolation – edging past
Rory McIlroy to take the No. 2 spot in the world
rankings by .004 points.
McIlroy – the 2009 champion – dropped out
of contention early on, but picked up four shots
on the way home to claim a share of fifth on 14
under, one behind Germany’s Marcel Siem.
“It’s an unbelievable feeling and it’s been a
really spectacular week for me,” Cabrera-Bello
told Sky Sports, remembering that he began it
with nine birdies in 11 holes.
“With so many big, big names I felt really
proud of myself. I wanted to fight, I stayed
calm, I did everything that I’ve read we should
do in these types of situations.
“I had ups and downs of course, but overall
I think I played great. This was the quality jump
I was looking for in my game and it’s offered
me the opportunity to play with the world’s best
Alongside McIlroy were Denmark’s Søren
Kjeldsen, whose 67 featured six birdies,
Scotland’s Scott Jamieson and South Africa’s
Martin Kaymer, who began the day two
adrift of Westwood on 13 under, may have
realised it wasn’t going to be his day when
he missed makeable birdie chances on
each of the first three holes.
Although he did pick up a shot
on the short fourth, he
went on to sign for a
74 that left him in a
tie for 13th.
Rafael Cabrera-Bello picked up his
second European Tour win at the
Omega Dubai Desert Classic.
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