Cabrera-Bello returns to form with Spanish Open title

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Rafael Cabrera-Bello has previously been ranked as high as 16th in the world (AFP/TOM PENNINGTON)
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Rafael Cabrera-Bello ended a poor run of form by winning the Spanish Open title on Sunday, edging out fellow home hope Adri Arnaus in a play-off in Madrid.

Former Ryder Cup star Cabrera-Bello slumped to 231st in the world rankings after failing to post a top-10 finish since January.

But the 37-year-old held his nerve to secure his first tournament victory since 2017, making a birdie on the first sudden-death playoff hole.

"I've been believing in myself, I've had amazing support all this week rooting for me ever since the first minute and I was just hanging in there. I knew I'd have an opportunity and I'm glad that luck swung my way," Cabrera-Bello told europeantour.com.

"I've loved this city since I came here for the first time but the last couple of years I've felt a really, really special connection with the crowd and the support has helped me a lot.

"I came here in probably the worst shape I have been in in the last decade and to walk out here with a win, it's very special."

Arnaus, who trailed Cabrera-Bello by two shots heading into the final round, turned it around to lead by two at the turn.

But Cabrera-Bello made three straight birdies from the 13th hole and signed for a two-under-par 69 and a 19-under total.

Arnaus, chasing a first European Tour win, missed a 10-foot birdie putt for the title on the last green and had to settle for a playoff, where Cabrera-Bello emerged on top.

World number one Jon Rahm's tilt for a third successive Spanish Open crown hit the buffers over the weekend, as a two-under 69 left him in a tie for 17th at 13-under.

jc/dj

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