Rafa Cabrera Bello foils Callum Shinkwin in Scottish Open play-off
By Mike Patterson
Last Updated: 16/07/17 8:46pm
Rafa Cabrera Bello beat Callum Shinkwin in a play-off to capture the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open title.
The Spaniard clinched his third European Tour victory with a two-putt birdie at the first extra hole at Dundonald Links after hitting a superb approach shot into the par-five 18th from 275 yards.
Shinkwin could only manage a par after he had bogeyed the same hole a few minutes earlier when the fourth Rolex Series event of the season had appeared to be in his grasp.
Cabrera Bello piled the pressure on Shinkwin with a course-record 64 in the final round, but the 24-year from Watford had held his nerve until his late slip.
World No 406 Shinkwin started the day in a three-way tie for the lead with fellow Englishman Ian Poulter and Australian Andrew Dodt, with Cabrera Bello four shots behind.
Dodt made the early running in the much calmer conditions on Sunday thanks to birdies at the first and fourth holes.
Six successive pars had kept Shinkwin in touch, but he came to life at the seventh with a birdie and followed that up with two more at the eighth and ninth, all with relatively short putts after some excellent iron play.
Shinkwin then produced some mature golf on the back nine as he coped admirably with the pressure of leading a high-quality field.
Further birdies followed at the 13th and 15th and he coolly negotiated the 16th and 17th before coming unstuck at the 18th when he failed to reach the green with his initial chip and then missed a four-foot putt for his maiden European Tour success and the £898,000 first prize.
Cabrera Bello, with 24 top-10s to his name since his last victory in February 2012, emerged from the pack as Shinkwin's main challenger with a flawless round that featured eight birdies, including one at the 18th when he fortunately avoided the burn to the right of the green.
The world No 31's 64 left him on 13-under 275, which was matched by Shinkwin following his four-under 68.
Shinkwin's consolation prize - as well as a £598,000 cheque - is a place in The Open at Royal Birkdale where he will be joined by Frenchman Matthieu Pavon, who came third on 10 under thanks to a 66.
Dodt's challenge for the title faded after four bogeys on the back nine and he finished in a tie for fourth on eight under with a 73, although he took the third Open spot, edging out England's Anthony Wall by virtue of his higher world ranking - 193 to 245.
Also on eight under were Irishman Padraig Harrington, who bounced back from his 79 on Saturday with a six-under 66, American Matt Kuchar (69) and New Zealand's Ryan Fox.
Fox's two-under round of 70 included a remarkable par on the par-three sixth when he holed his provisional after losing his ball off the tee.
Poulter failed to spark as he mixed three birdies with five bogeys in a 74 which left him in a share of ninth place alongside fellow Englishmen Andy Sullivan (72), Robert Rock (66) and Lee Slattery (68), American Rickie Fowler (70) and Denmark's Soren Kjeldsen (68).