DUBAI Two interesting results were recorded at two high-profile golf events in the UAE recently. After England's Robert Rock stunned Tiger Woods and a stellar cast to win the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship last month, another low-profile player, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, clinched victory at a European Tour event this year when he took the honours at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic keeping another former World No 1 Lee Westwood at bay.
"This has been a surprise to win," said Cabrera-Bello.
"I was feeling that my game was really good and I was playing solid, very confident and I was happy that I was able to keep that confidence for an entire week," added the Spaniard, who had recorded his only professional victory in 2009 after he won the Austrian Open.
"Both of them are very special. I think this one I felt I had to work more for it than the previous one."
The 27-year-old also became the third successive Spanish winner after his close friend Alvaro Quiros and Miguel Angel Jimenez won the previous two years at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic. Seve Ballesteros (1992) and Jose Maria Olazabal (1998) were the other Spaniard winners in this tournament. "I'm really happy and proud that my name is going to be written down in the same trophy as Ballesteros and Olazábal and Jiménez and my great friend, Alvaro.
"It's a really amazing feeling for me to be a little bit a part of the same history they are," he added.
It was a closely fought final round which could have easily entered the play-off but both Westwood and Stephen Gallacher missed their birdie putts on the 18th giving Cabrera-Bello a one-shot victory.
"It doesn't mean any particular thing just beating him [Westwood]. I'm just happy that I was able to win and I was even happier to get a win in a very prestigious event.
"And obviously not just with Lee, whom I admire a lot, but also with all of the big names that were up there contending, like Rory [McIlroy], Martin [Kaymer], Stephen. And just the fact that I was able today to be successful just proves to me that I'm working on the right line. It gives me a lot of confidence that I have proven to myself that I can perform at least one week as good as themselves. It's just a huge confidence and morale boost."
The win also moves Cabrera-Bello into the top 60 and into the elite list of golfers who will play in the Match-play Championship in Arizona.
"This was really the quality jump in my game I was looking for. I had been practising hard for it. It opens the door to play better field tournaments, try to play with the top players of the world more often, and that's the best way for me to keep improving," the Spaniard said.