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Cabrera Bello ready for more links success

July 10, 2018

Rafa Cabrera Bello is looking forward to another warm Scottish welcome at Gullane Golf Club as he defends his Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open title.

Cabrera Bello ready for more links success, © Getty Images

- Getty Images

“I've never defended a title. It's got to be a good feeling. It's going to be a different feeling because I'm not on the same course that I was last year, so I cannot draw off those memories particularly on the course, but I will draw off the atmosphere and on the crowd that was very supportive last time - well, actually, every single year. So hopefully that will get me in my best performance."

The Spaniard shot a stunning course record 64 in the final round to force a play-off against Callum Shinkwin at Dundonald Links last year, where he prevailed to win his third European Tour title and his first on the Rolex Series.

“Obviously last year was fantastic. That Sunday was very special, shooting 64, course record, getting myself into the playoff and then hitting that great shot in for the eagle chance."

“I love playing links golf. Obviously Scottish Open and The Open, they are a great links test. It's hard to plan the schedule so that you know when you're going to peak, but obviously last year, I was very, very pleased that I peaked right about this time, and this year, I'm hoping the same thing happens."

The current world number 25 followed up that famous victory – his first title for more than five years – with a tied fourth place finish in The Open Championship, and he is aiming for another positive fortnight on the links as he heads to Carnoustie straight from his title defence on Scotland's Golf Coast this week.

Meanwhile, homegrown talent Connor Syme is making his first professional appearance both at the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open and at Gullane.

“It's a massive event. I've had a few more messages than normal I guess. A lot of people excited that I'm playing, and I'm looking forward to it. I'm staying with my girlfriend this week, which doesn't happen very often. It's nice. My dad's down, he walked a few holes with me yesterday and carried the bag."

The 23 year old is enjoying his first season on the European Tour and is aiming to build on a second place finish at the Shot Clock Masters in Austria last month as he makes his third Rolex Series appearance in a row following the HNA Open de France and Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation.

“There's been quite a lot of positives (this season), but a few missed cuts I've not been too pleased about. It's all there, first year on Tour, new courses, and now I feel like I've been competing every week."

“I think getting my European Tour card would be a great achievement for me this year. I've had a lot of good opportunities. Obviously find myself in a pretty good position in the Race to Dubai. I'm not too far away from the magic number, 110. That would be a great step in my career, having a full schedule next year and being able to plan a full schedule. This year, if I got into the top 110, my team would look at it as a great season.”

A stellar field is teeing it up this week for the 36 th edition of Scotland's national open, including World Number Three and 2014 winner Justin Rose, five-time Major winner Phil Mickelson and his fellow Americans in 2018 Masters Tournament winner Patrick Reed, and Rickie Fowler, who claimed the Scottish Open title the last time Gullane hosted the event in 2015.