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
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