Rafa Cabrera-Bello was at Jumeirah Golf Estates on Monday en route to this week’s Turkish Airlines Open for the beginning of the European Tour’s Final Series. The 2015 season culminates at the Earth Course from November 19-22, with Cabrera-Bello returning to an event he says “owes him”. He explains to John McAuley why.
At last year’s DP World Tour Championship, the season-concluding event comprising the circuit’s top 60 players, Cabrera-Bello fired a superb 7-under-par 65 in the third round to share the lead going into Sunday. However, he then struggled to a 75, eventually finishing ninth. Henrik Stenson, his fellow overnight leader, went on to win.
On perceived redemption
“There’s extra motivation, absolutely,” Cabrera-Bello said. “It’s not that I’m going to come here and play just to redeem myself from last year – I don’t have any reason to redeem myself – but I’m coming with that extra incentive, because I know I can play well here. I was very close to winning last year so I know I have the game to do it here.”
On the season finale
“It’s more relaxed than people expect. Everyone expects the final to be very tense, but it’s not really that way. Unless you finish really, really well, it won’t cause that big a change in the rankings, so it’s a week to enjoy ... We play the entire year to qualify for it and in my particular case it owes me from last year ...”
On the four-event final series
“It’s very important. It is our final series, there’s lots of world ranking points, lots of Race to Dubai points and lots of Ryder Cup points on offer, so having a good next month is crucial. It’s not definitive, though: if it doesn’t go well it’s not the end of the world, since there’s still many more tournaments to play. But it would be great to finish the year playing well.”
On an inconsistent season
Cabrera-Bello, currently 41st in the Race to Dubai, has had a mixed year. The Spaniard did not register a top-10 finish until his tied-fourth at May’s Irish Open, but two weeks later finished runner-up in Austria, then fifth in France and tied-seventh in the Netherlands. However, he has struggled since. “It was a slow start to the season, probably the worst I’ve had in many years. That all changed at the Irish Open and after I had a fantastic three-month stretch. Recently, it hasn’t been so great, but right now I’m feeling good, have had a few days good practice here and I’m feeling confident going to Turkey.”
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