RAFA CABRERA-BELLO-1643134572588
Rafa Cabrera Bello (ESP) on the eighth tee during the preview ahead of the Slync.io Dubai Desert Classic at Emirates Golf Club on Tuesday. Image Credit: Courtesy: Golffile

I drove down from Abu Dhabi on Sunday after the final round at Yas Links. I was delighted to finish tied second in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

It was almost the perfect start to the year and at these Rolex Series events you really have to take advantage of all the OWGR Points available.

Last year I finished fourth in the same event, then hosted at Abu Dhabi Golf Club. That set me up for a great start to last season and gave me entry access to a WGC event — these Rolex Series events are that important.

Now I am in my adopted home city with my family and staying in my own bed. That was not possible last year with the stricter Covid-19 bubble government policies of Dubai and the UAE.

I am refreshed and very comfortable to be back in Dubai, seeing so many of my friends and living just 10 minutes from the Emirates Golf Club.

I have been here for a few days prior to Abu Dhabi and I am so impressed with the enhanced greens at the Majlis Course, it really does make the course look and play like it was designed to, by US golf course designer Karl Litten.

Congratulations to Chris May, the CEO of Dubai Golf, Barney Coleman, Club Manager at EGC and mostly, Matt Perry, the Golf Course Superintendent at EGC, and their agronomy team who have turned the greens to ‘Tour Standard’ all round over the last summer.

Last night one of my key sponsors, JA Resorts and Hotels, hosted the Lakeview Rooftop Challenge. The list of players competing was impressive: Paul Casey (Eng), fellow Dubai resident Adri Arnaus (Spain), Charl Schwartzel (RSA), Danny Willett (Eng), Henrik Stenson (Swe), Grant Forrest (Scot) and top amateur Sam Bennett (USA) and, of course, myself!

We had a fun night with guests of JA The Resort as well as Slync.io Dubai Desert Guests and some media invites.

Well done to Stuart McMurdo and all the JA The Resort Team and Falcon & Associates for all their hard work. Paul Casey took the spoils in a singles matchplay knockout format, so well played Paul.

Honours board

I played in the Pro-Am today and got the feel of the new course set-up. Thanks to my JA The Resort Team of Ian, Sunil and Vishal for your company. We finished sixth, which is always respectable.

I always get a buzz walking into the clubhouse at Emirates Golf Club and proudly look up at my name on the honours board as a past champion (in 2012) of this important week in world golf, that has now been elevated to a Rolex Series event. There are some great golfers on the Champions Board!

I am on a high from last week.

Wish me luck that I can carry this momentum through all this week. I have moved up 59 places in the OWGR from last week and now stand at 101.

In the 2021 — 2022 DP World Tour Rankings I stand in tied second behind Thomas Pieters (Belgium).

And we have only had three weeks of 2022. Not a bad start.

See you all tomorrow.

— Rafa Cabrera-Bello is Spanish professional golfer who plays on the European Tour and is also a past champion in the Dubai Desert Classic.