Rafa Cabrera-Bello defeated his fellow countryman, Adri Arnaus, on the first playoff hole to claim the Open de Espana.
In a tight and tense encounter, it was Rafa Cabrera-Bello who claimed the most important win of his career, adding his name to a prestigious list of Spaniards who have won the Open de Espana.
After four rounds, the duo of Cabrera-Bello and Adri Arnaus couldn’t be separated, but at the very first play-off hole, Cabrera-Bello rolled in an eight-foot birdie putt to secure his fourth European Tour title.
“I’m very very happy,” said Cabrera-Bello, “I knew it was going to be a very hard battle today and we had amazing support all week. People were rooting for me since day one this week.
“I came in to the tournament in probably the worst shape I’ve been in the last decade, but to walk out of here with a win is very special.”
He had started the day with a two-shot lead. However, that was soon wiped out as he opened his final round with a double-bogey at the first.
A birdie at the 4th did settle his nerves slightly but, as the chasing pack began to catch him, the Spanish duo of Cabrera-Bello and Arnaus pulled away over the back nine.
With three consecutive birdies at the 13th, 14th and 15th, Cabrera-Bello moved to 19-under-par.
Arnaus, who had bogeyed the 11th, produced the shot of the day at the par-5 13th, with a Seve like recovery shot leading to an eagle.
Standing on the driveable par-4 18th, it seemed like Cabrera-Bello’s chances had faded away, as he found himself with a difficult lie and a number of trees right in front of him.
He would however find a gap, doing well to put his ball into the greenside bunker short of the green.
As Arnaus splashed his second shot to 10 feet, his fellow countryman put his bunker shot to near gimme range, leaving Arnaus a putt for victory.
His attempt didn’t even threaten the hole, with the pair heading back up the 18th for extra holes.
With both men hitting almost identical drives off the tee, Arnaus came up short with his second, leaving his opponent a huge opportunity to capitalise.
Sticking his shot to eight-feet, Cabrera-Bello had a straight putt for victory. Despite not having won since 2017, he showed no nerves, duly rolling in his birdie putt for the most important win of his career.
Speaking after his round, the Spaniard said: “I didn’t need to say that I didn’t get off to the best start today, but I hung in there and I’m glad that some luck went my way.
“I love this city and over the last few years I’ve felt a really really special connection. This has been one trophy that was on my bucket list and to add my name to all those champions is so so special.”