News & Opinion

Cabrera-Bello heads to Birkdale with Scottish title

It took Rafael Cabrera-Bello nearly 5½ years, but he finally got his third victory on the European Tour.

Cabrera-Bello erased a four-stroke deficit Sunday with a final-round 8-under 64 and then prevailed on the first playoff hole against Callum Shinkwin to win the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open at Dundonald Links in Irvine, Scotland.

Shinkwin held a two-stroke lead with four holes to play, but he bogeyed the final hole for 68 after Cabrera-Bello, playing four groups ahead, finished birdie-birdie, leading to a tie at 13-under 275 and a march back to the tee at the par-5 18th.

Cabrera-Bello hit the green in two, setting up an easy two-putt birdie as Shinkwin, seeking his first victory on tour, missed the green left and failed to match the Spaniard’s 4.

“I have been working really hard to try to get the third win,” said Cabrera-Bello, 33, who hadn’t won since claiming the Omega Dubai Desert Classic on Feb. 12, 2012. “Sometimes, I felt that I have made mistakes and I end up not winning. Other times, I felt I've given a good charge, but other people deserved the win. This time, I really felt I played some of the best golf of my life today.”

It is the second consecutive victory on the European Tour for Spain, after rookie Jon Rahm won the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open a week earlier. Cabrera-Bello improves to fourth in the Race to Dubai standings, behind Englishman Tommy Fleetwood and fellow Spaniards Sergio Garcia and Rahm. 

Americans Matt Kuchar (T-4), Rickie Fowler (T-9) and Paul Peterson (T-19) finished among the top 20 at Dundonald Links. 

Shinkwin, 24, leaves Scotland with a consolation prize. He, France’s Matthieu Pavon, who placed solo third, and Andrew Dodt (T-4) earned spots in this week’s British Open via the Open Qualifying Series.

Alex Miceli is the founder and publisher of Morning Read. Email:; Twitter: @AlexMiceli