Saturday, 26 March 2016
Rafa Cabrera-Bello  (Getty Images)
Rafa Cabrera-Bello (Getty Images)

Rafa Cabrera-Bello set up a semi-final clash with Louis Oosthuizen after beating Ryan Moore 2 and 1 in the quarter-finals of the WGC-Dell Match Play.

The Spaniard's run to the semi-finals at Austin Country Club comes after he claimed two second-placed finishes on the Desert Swing and then finished 11th at the WGC-Cadillac Championship.

That recent form has propelled him into the top 50 of the Official World Golf Ranking and he will now make his debut at the Masters Tournament in two weeks' time.

"I knew if I won this morning’s match I’d get in to the Masters," he said.

It’s the only Major I haven’t played in yet and it’s the one that made me want to become a professional golfer. I wore green today to inspire me and remind me what was at stake - Rafa Cabrera-Bello

Oosthuizen will be in the hunt for a second Major Championship in Georgia and he overcame Dustin Johnson 2 and 1 in his quarter-final in Texas.

Cabrera-Bello grabbed an early lead after Moore's tee-shot found its way to the fairway bunker as he eventually conceded the opening hole.

The American would square things up on the third after Cabrera-Bello hit a rock in the right rough but a birdie-birdie run on the fifth and sixth saw the World Number 54 go two up.

A quality approach to the green left Moore with a close-range putt to apply the pressure on the eighth and Cabrera-Bello fell short, settling for a bogey.

The nip-and-tuck affair continued on the back nine as the pair exchanged birdies on the 12th before the 52nd seed hit a superb approach to the green at the 15th, allowing him to sink a six-inch putt for a two hole lead.

Cabrera-Bello made pars on the next two holes to clinch victory.

"I'm playing really well. I'm not giving away many holes, especially giving them away easily, which I think is something really important in match play," he said.

"My preparation for this tournament was really good. I enjoy the match play a lot and I'm feeling confident this week. I've had a great start to the year so far, so I'm really proud to be in the semi-final.

I know that when I play well, I can beat almost anybody. I've done it before in some tournaments, so why not again this week - Rafa Cabrera-Bello

"The Ryder Cup is definitely a goal. Hopefully I'm playing well enough to impress the captain. This tournament is giving me a fair amount of points towards the rankings." 

Oosthuizen had to come from behind to beat Johnson in their match.

The 33 year old had beaten Jordan Spieth 4 and 2 in the last 16 but found himself one down after Johnson birdied the second.

A birdie on the next had him back level but another Johnson gain on the fourth took the American to the turn with a one hole lead.

The 2010 Open Champion levelled the tie with a 25-footer on the tenth for birdie before he capitalised on a Johnson bogey to par the 11th and go ahead for the first time in the match.

The World Number 16 holed a birdie to go two up on the 15th but Johnson responded with a birdie of his own.

Oosthuizen put the match beyond reach with 21-foot putt for birdie on the 17th.

I just played nicely and tried to give myself birdie opportunities, so I'm putting well, so I'll just try to do it tomorrow - Louis Oosthuizen

"I was down most of the day and then started playing nicely. And I think he gave me a bit of a chance on 12. I was in the water and he followed me in there. So that was a bit of a save for me."

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