The Spaniard has long been one of the European Tour's most consistent performers but his victory at Dundonald Links last season was his first in five years as he claimed his first victory in a Rolex Series event.
Top ten finishes at the BMW PGA Championship and Italian Open showed that he has a taste for the prestige events, although he did miss the cut at the HNA Open de France and the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation.
He arrives at Gullane Golf Club feeling confident, however, and is looking for the Scottish crowd that took to him so well last season to spur him on again.
“It would be amazing,” he said. “I've never defended a title, it's got to be a good feeling.
“It's going to be a different feeling because I'm not on the same course that I was last year, so I cannot draw off those memories particularly on the course, but I will draw off the atmosphere and on the crowd that was very supportive last time and every single year.
“Hopefully that will get me in my best performance.
“I love playing links golf. Obviously Scottish Open and the Open, they are a great links test.
“It's hard to plan the schedule so that you know when you're going to peak but obviously last year I was very, very pleased that I peaked right about this time and this year I'm hoping the same thing happens.
“I feel good with my game. I know I'm hitting the ball good so I'm looking forward.”
I will draw off the atmosphere and on the crowd that was very supportive last time - Rafa Cabrera Bello
Cabrera Bello has been in the top 50 of the Official World Golf Ranking since March 2016 and currently sits at Number 25 thanks to a run of consistently excellent golf that helped make the last European Ryder Cup Team.
“I've worked very hard over the last few years to improve in the World Ranking,” he said. “I have a big team around me that helps me in all different parts of the game.
“I just feel more mature. I trust myself more - not as much as I would like to or hope I will some day - but I feel I'm improving little by little, getting to know my strengths and my weaknesses better.
“I'm just trying to play every week with the best attitude I can towards it and some weeks, the putts drop in and I can play good.
“Overall I think the difference is my attitude is better than it was five, six, seven years ago and then all members of my team have helped me get better at my job, little by little.”