Rafa Cabrera Bello wins Scottish Open

The Spaniard beat England's Callum Shinkwin in a sudden-death playoff at Dundonald

Rafa Cabrera Bello wins Scottish Open
Rafa Cabrera Bello wins Scottish Open
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Spain’s Rafa Cabrera Bello beat Callum Shinkwin of England at the first hole of a sudden-death playoff in the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open at Dundonald Links.

England's Callum Shinkwin looked to have the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open title in his grasp as he stood on the 18th tee at Dundonald in the final round needing just a par five to claim the victory.

The 24-year-old Englishman had played error-free golf to that point on a glorious Sunday in Ayrshire to give himself a great chance of securing a first European Tour win.

Spain’s Rafa Cabrera-Bello had finished his tournament earlier in the day, having carded a course record 64 to set a clubhouse target of 13-under-par.

One better than that with one hole to play, Shinkwin looked likely to claim a narrow victory. After driving his ball into the fairway on the 18th, par or better seemed guaranteed. But he went for the green with his second and his ball ended in a difficult position behind a greenside bunker. His pitch hit the slope short of the green and fell back from the surface. He was unable to get up-and-down and the resulting bogey saw him finish 72 holes tied with Cabrera-Bello.

The pair returned to the 18th to decide the tournament via a sudden-death playoff. Both men found the fairway from the tee with Shinkwin just further back than the Spaniard.

The Englishman played his second first and his ball ended in a similar spot to his effort in regulation play – on the slope behind the bunker at the back of the green.

Cabrera-Bello decided to attack his second and he too went for the green. He played a superb shot that landed on the front of the putting surface and rolled up to within 20-feet of the flag.

Shinkwin’s pitch from behind the green came up short leaving Cabrera-Bello a putt to take the title. He narrowly missed but tapped in for a birdie meaning Shinkwin had a putt to keep the playoff alive. He left it short and the title was Rafa’s.

3 Talking points from the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open

1 – This was Rafa Cabrera-Bello’s third European title but his first since 2012. With the victory he has moved up to fourth place on the Race to Dubai standings.

Rafa Cabrera Bello swing sequence:

2 – Callum Shinkwin came so close to securing a first European Tour title. The 24-year-old will be disappointed but he can console himself somewhat with the fact his second place finish earned him a start in next week’s Open Championship at Royal Birkdale. The other players to earn a start in the year’s third Major were Matthieu Pavon of France and Andrew Dodt of Australia.

3 – One player who won’t be at Birkdale is Graeme McDowell. The 37-year-old had played every Open since 2004 but he needed to secure one of the three places available in this event to secure his spot this season. As it was, he finished in a share of 19th place at Dundonald, on a four-round total of five-under-par.

Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open Dundonald Links, Ayrshire, Scotland Jul 13-16 Purse: $7,000,000 Par: 72

1    Rafa Cabrera-Bello (Esp) 70    72    69    64    275   2    Callum Shinkwin (Eng)    67    68    72    68    275 3    Matthieu Pavon (Fra)    69    74    69    66    278 T4    Padraig Harrington (Ire) 67    68    79    66    280 T4    Anthony Wall (Eng)    71    71    69    69    280     T4    Matt Kuchar (USA)    68    70    73    69    280     T4    Andrew Dodt (Aus)    67    69    71    73    280     T4    Ryan Fox (NZ)        72    69    69    70    280 T9    Soren Kjeldsen (Den)    71    72    70    68    281 T9    Ian Poulter (Eng)        67    69    71    74    281 T9    Robert Rock (Eng)    73    69    73    66    281 T9    Lee Slattery (Eng)    75    68    70    68    281 T9    Rickie Fowler (USA)    67    70    74    70    281 T9    Andy Sullivan (Eng)    70    72    67    72    281

Note: Player score in bold signifies Titleist ball usage

Fergus Bisset
Contributing Editor

Fergus is Golf Monthly's resident expert on the history of the game and has written extensively on that subject. He is a golf obsessive and 1-handicapper. Growing up in the North East of Scotland, golf runs through his veins and his passion for the sport was bolstered during his time at St Andrews university studying history. He went on to earn a post graduate diploma from the London School of Journalism. Fergus has worked for Golf Monthly since 2004 and has written two books on the game; "Great Golf Debates" together with Jezz Ellwood of Golf Monthly and the history section of "The Ultimate Golf Book" together with Neil Tappin , also of Golf Monthly. 

Fergus once shanked a ball from just over Granny Clark's Wynd on the 18th of the Old Course that struck the St Andrews Golf Club and rebounded into the Valley of Sin, from where he saved par. Who says there's no golfing god?