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Dubai champion Cabrera-Bello Ignored caddie’s advice
Dubai Desert Classic champion Rafael Cabrera-Bello proved fortune can favour the brave when he ignored his caddie's advice to play safe from the rough at the 16th hole and saved a precious stroke on Sunday.
February 13, 2012 2:08 by Reuters
The 27-year-old Spaniard went into the final round one shot behind overnight leader Lee Westwood.
Cabrera-Bello moved in front with birdies at 11 and 12 but world number three Westwood (birdie) and fellow Briton Stephen Gallacher (eagle) also picked up strokes at the par-five 13th, putting all three level on 17-under-par.
The 2009 Austrian Open champion, playing one hole ahead, shanked his tee shot at the 16th into the trees and his ball ended up in a sandy void.
“I saw the ball was lying quite good but then I tried to look towards the green and I couldn’t see it, it was all trees,” said Cabrera-Bello.
“Had that been two or three holes earlier I would have played differently but I knew if I dropped a shot it would give the guys behind more confidence.
“I was talking to my caddie and was telling him the branches didn’t look thick – if I didn’t hit it exactly where I wanted I could still get lucky and maybe try to save par,” added Cabrera-Bello.
“But he told me, ‘No, just play left’. I looked at it again. The ball was sitting up so good. I said, ‘Okay, I know this is a very risky shot but don’t worry it’s my ball and I’m just going to go for it’.”
The gamble paid off as Cabrera-Bello landed just short of the green and he scrambled his par.
He then rolled in an eight-foot birdie putt at the 17th and a closing 68 for an 18-under total of 270 earned a one-stroke win over Westwood and Gallacher.
“I tried to be calm,” said Cabrera-Bello after notching his second European Tour win. “There were different emotions, from nervous to pressure to chill, but overall I was really enjoying it.
“Competing at golf is my biggest thrill. I’m happy I was able to stick to my plan, to play bold.”
The Spaniard made a par five at the long 18th and could only look on as Westwood and Gallacher failed to produce a closing birdie that would have forced a playoff.
“I was just waiting. I didn’t want to wish anyone wrong but I was thinking if they missed their birdie putts it would be really convenient,” added the smiling Cabrera-Bello.
His victory earned a cheque for $416,200, a tour exemption until the end of 2014 and a rise in the world rankings from 119th to around 60th.
“This win … opens the door to better tournaments and to playing with the top players of the world more often,” said Cabrera-Bello. (By Matt Smith; Editing by Tony Jimenez) *image from supersport.com