It was all happening at the Valderrama Masters, where Sergio Garcia emerged from a Sunday thriller with Joost Luiten to claim his third win of 2017...
Cabrera Bello takes advantage of late blip by Shinkwin
For the second week running a Spaniard came out on top as Rafa Cabrera Bello landed the Scottish Open at Dundonald
After a wait of five years Rafa Cabrera Bello returned to the winner’s circle after overcoming Callum Shinkwin in a play-off for the Scottish Open.
And while the Spaniard did it in style, flashing a fairway wood on to the 18th green in extra time from something around 275 yards, Shinkwin will head to Royal Birkdale knowing this was a fantastic opportunity to record his maiden win.
The 24-year-old from Watford knew a five would be good enough at the 72nd hole after a day of tremendous ball striking but he then dropped his only shot of the day after leaving himself a stinky chip over sand. The recovery came out ‘spinny’ and short and he then left a shortish putt for par in the jaws.
Earlier on Cabrera Bello had enjoyed a huge slice of luck when his second to the last somehow avoided the ditch but he took advantage with an up-and-down for his eighth birdie and a 64.
But he then found the middle of the fairway in the play-off and his approach was superb, Shinkwin again went left and again left a putt short.
The former English Amateur champion (he beat Matt Fitzpatrick at Frilford Heath in 2013) had managed his game perfectly all day, with a hat-trick of birdies from the 7th and two more coming home, but Cabrera Bello kept up the pressure with four birdies in the last seven holes.
“I was watching on TV, yes. Obviously it was all in his (Shinkwin’s) hands. It must have been frustrating for him because I felt he got unlucky with the ball not rolling back to the bunker. Otherwise it would be him sitting here instead of me,” said Cabrera Bello.
“But I know from experience, as well, how difficult it is to close events. I don’t know if he has ever been in the same position as he was today. Sometimes things, don’t ask me how, but things do go wrong. I’ve felt that in my own bones more than once, unfortunately.”
Shinkwin actually played down the fact that he was trying to land his first win..
“Of course I had a few nerves but to be fair it was nothing like what everyone probably thinks. I hit a great second shot in and finished in a divot on a downslope of the bunker. I had no shot, really. But it’s all a learning curve and obviously if you win, you have to have luck on your side. It wasn’t there for me.”
Matthieu Pavon of France also secured a major debut with a 66 to finish third on 10 under, with Australia’s Andrew Dodt claiming the last place ahead of Anthony due to his higher world ranking. The Aussie was due to go on holiday to New York this week but he will now head to Southport.
As will Ian Poulter who began the day in the final group but ended it in a tie for 9th after a 74.