IRVINE, Scotland (AP) Rafa Cabrera Bello birdied the first hole of a playoff with Callum Shinkwin to win the Scottish Open on Sunday, securing his first title in 5 1/2 years.
The 405th-ranked Shinkwin left short a 4-foot par putt for victory on his 72nd hole to shoot a 4-under 68 in his final round and drop into a playoff with Cabrera Bello, who shot a course-record 8-under 64. Both were on 13 under par overall.
Returning to the par-5 18th at Dundonald Links, Cabrera Bello sent a 3-wood from 275 yards to within 8 feet. His eagle putt came short but he tapped in for birdie, leaving Shinkwin a 7-foot putt for birdie to force a second hole.
Again, his putt didn’t reach the cup.
”One of the shots of my life,” Cabrera Bello said about his 3 wood on the playoff hole.
The last of Cabrera Bello’s previous two titles on the European Tour came at the Dubai Desert Classic in February 2012.
”I have been fighting for this win for many years,” he said. ”Sometimes I did mistakes, sometimes it didn’t work out for me. This is unbelievable.”
In his final round, Cabrera Bello made eight birdies and didn’t drop a shot. On his 72nd hole, his approach landed on the bank and nearly fell into the burn. He chipped out and made a birdie that ultimately forced the playoff.
His win continues a stunning year for Spanish golf, with Sergio Garcia winning the Masters for his first major title and Jon Rahm – a rising star of the game – winning two titles, most recently at the Irish Open last week.
Shinkwin, who started the final round in a share of the lead with Ian Poulter and Andrew Dodt, led by a shot going down par-5 18th for the first time Sunday and only needed a par to be assured of victory.
His approach went left behind a greenside bunker and, after a long wait for his playing partner to play, Shinkwin chipped short of the green and the ball rolled back near the bunker. He three-putted from about 15 feet.
Shinkwin missed out on a first title of his career and settled for earning a place in next week’s British Open, along with Matthieu Pavon of France and Andrew Dodt of Australia.
”Under the gun, I didn’t miss a shot until the last hole,” said Shinkwin, whose only bogey came on the 18th. ”I learnt I can compete with the best.”
Poulter was seeking a 14th worldwide win – and first since November 2012 – but was always playing catch-up after three-putting Nos. 1 and 4 for bogeys. He tied for ninth place alongside 2015 champion Rickie Fowler, who shot 70.
Steve Douglas is at www.twitter.com/sdouglas80