Rafa Cabrera Bello said he is loving the job of hosting the Gran Canaria Lopesan Open this week and is hopeful course knowledge and returning form will help him produce a good result at Melonares Golf.
The Spaniard, who made his debut during the European Tour’s last visit to Gran Canaria in 2002 as a 17 year old amateur, is now relishing the role as tournament host on the Tour’s return to his home country.
“It’s a really, really cool experience,” said Cabrera Bello, who was born and grew up playing on the island.
“As a kid you don’t really grow up dreaming about being a tournament host, but once you see the other guys who have had the opportunity and that huge honour, I thought it’d be cool to be host one day. We’ve come back to Gran Canaria, I’m loving it this week. It’s a very nice feeling because you look back on your career and you think ‘maybe I’ve done one or two things right’. I have the opportunity and the honour to be host this week. It’s a huge pleasure.”
Cabrera Bello, whose last victory came during the 2017 Scottish Open, is also hoping that he can use being at home to his advantage as he aims to turn his game around.
The Spaniard had a strong start to the season during the European Tour’s Desert Swing with a best in Abu Dhabi of a tie for fourth, but admittedly struggled after travelling over the United States.
Despite that, Cabrera Bello said that he felt a lot more confident during his last start in San Antonio, and is hopeful that his game is ready to turn a corner after spending the last couple of weeks practicing in Spain.
“Texas was a good week, given the circumstances,” said Cabrera Bello.
“I played good golf for three days and had one bad day – that’s how it goes sometimes. You can either dwell on the one bad day or take the positives from the other three days – that’s what I decided to do. I’ve worked hard on my game the last few weeks. I believe I can play well and that’s all I need to believe.
“The World Ranking shows how you have played in the last two years, if I’ve dropped out it’s because there are 100 players who have played better golf than me over the last two years. I feel like I have a good enough level to get back in. I’m not stressing too much about it. Moving from 100 to 50 can happen quickly if you get on a good roll. It’s harder to climb from 50 upwards. Getting from 100 to 50 you can do moderately quickly – depends if there’s a good week where you finish second or third. I’m not dwelling on it. There’s nothing that birdies cannot fix, that’s my mentality, getting my game to the level I think it can be and the rest will take care of itself.”
He added: “Why not (become the first host to win the event they are hosting)? I need to participate in the event, so I’m one of the people that will have a chance.
“I’ve played some events better this year, I feel my game is coming back. I have good knowledge of the course and I’ve been practicing hard lately. I’m confident that I can get back to my best pretty soon and I’m hoping this week could be it.”