Spain’s Rafael Cabrera Bello completed a wire-to-wire victory in the Challenge Tour’s MAN NÖ Open at Adamstal Golf Club in Austria, securing his maiden professional title by two strokes from home favourite Niki Zitny.
Cabrera Bello set out with the goal of beating the course which he achieved with a one under par 69 for a 16 under par total of 264. Zitny pushed him all the way, holing his second shot on the tenth but his chance went with a bogey on the 17th. Zitny closed with a 67 to claim second place on 14 under par 266 with Swede Johan Skold and Dane Mads Vibe-Hastrup sharing third a further shot back after respective rounds of 67.
Starting the final round a comfortable four shots clear of the field, Cabrera Bello got off to an horrendous start when he hit his opening drive out of bounds on his way to a double bogey. And when he dropped another shot on the second as Zitny birdied, his lead had been wiped out.
But the 22 year old Spaniard, who only turned professional last December, regrouped with birdies on the third and fifth before picking up two more birdies coming home to withstand the challenge from Zitny.
“It is hard to express how I feel as I didn’t know if I had thrown it all away with that start,” said Cabrera Bello. “But I think losing the lead so quickly might have helped as it wasn’t as if I was gradually losing my advantage and I was able to just think of it as a new game.
“I had a lot of birdie opportunities coming in and I knew if I could shoot another round under par I would have a chance of winning. I am obviously very happy.”
The winning cheque of €20,800 lifts Cabrera Bello from 51st in the Rankings to tenth where he is well placed to win a card for The European Tour.
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