FILE PHOTO: Golf - The 149th Open Championship - Royal St George's, Sandwich, Britain - July 16, 2021 Spain's Rafa Cabrera Bello tees off on the 2nd hole during the second round REUTERS/Lee Smith
October 12, 2021
(Reuters) -Spain’s Rafa Cabrera Bello sank a birdie putt on the first playoff hole to seal a dramatic victory over compatriot Adri Arnaus and win his first tournament in more than four years at the Spanish Open on Sunday.
Both men were neck and neck for much of the day and ended at 19-under for the tournament. Cabrera Bello then held his nerve after a fine approach shot on the first playoff hole — the par-four 18th — to make birdie as Arnaus could only manage par.
“I knew it was going to be a really hard battle today and I don’t think I need to say that I didn’t get off to the ideal start. It was definitely one trophy that was on my bucket list… It’s very, very special,” said Cabrera Bello.
“I’ve been believing in myself, I’ve had amazing support all this week rooting for me ever since the first minute and I was just hanging in there, I knew I’d have an opportunity and I’m glad that luck swung my way.”
Frenchman Julien Guerrier, India’s Shubhankar Sharma and Scot Grant Forrest were all two shots back at 17-under, finishing tied for third.
World number one and home favourite Jon Rahm, who was chasing a hat-trick of titles at the event, endured another frustrating day as he carded a two-under 69 and 13-under overall that gave him a share of 17th place.
Cabrera Bello, the overnight leader, began the round with a double-bogey on the par-four first but found his touch on the back nine, making three straight birdies starting with the 13th that gave him a two-under 69.
Arnaus, on the other hand, made eagle on the 14th but could only par his last four holes to end with a round of 67.
“I came here in a pretty bad place with scores being not what I expect them to be, and to be able to get momentum and turn it around and to walk out of here with a win means a lot to me,” added Cabrera Bello.
The tournament was Cabrera Bello’s fourth title on the European Tour while it left Arnaus still searching for his maiden win.
(Reporting by Dhruv Munjal in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis and Hugh Lawson)