Rafa Cabrera Bello
Rafa Cabrera Bello winning home title Image Credit: Getty / Gratis

There are just four more qualifying events after this week: in Valderrama, Mallorca, Portugal and Sun City in South Africa before the top 50 in the DP World Tour Rankings descend upon the Earth course at Jumeirah Golf Estates for the season ending $10 million DP World Tour Championship, Dubai.

Dubai Golden VISA Awardee Rafa Cabrera Bello quoted the great Seve Ballesteros as he reflected on a victory claimed with his heart at last season's acciona Open de España presented by Madrid.

DP World Tour

The home hero returns to Club de Campo Villa de Madrid this week to defend the title he won in dramatic fashion 12 months ago after defeating countryman and fellow Dubai resident Adri Arnaus in a play-off.

After seeing a two shot lead turn into a two shot deficit, he made a remarkable par save on the 72nd hole to get into the play-off, which he won with a birdie on the first trip back up the last to seal a fourth DP World Tour victory and first in four years.

‘It was very special,’ he said. ‘It was clearly a tournament that was on my bucket list. I got here last year and I was a little bit lost with my game, not really understanding where the golf ball wanted to go and somehow I managed to gain that confidence and to feel competitive again that week.

‘I think the support of the crowd and my family and friends that were watching did a lot to boost my morale and get me ready for competition.

‘It was just an amazing week, the way it all happened and the rollercoaster that was that 72nd hole and the play-off. After the tee-shot, it looked lost and then I managed to make an amazing par save to get into the play-off, so to birdie the first hole and to win it, it was a dream come true.

‘It is hard to explain it. I think some tournaments, and this is not my quote because I think Seve said this: 'Some tournaments you win with skill, some tournaments you win with your heart', and I felt like this tournament last year I won with my heart.’

World number six and Major Champion Jon Rahm is also in the field this week alongside a host of other home heroes including Arnaus and 25 other Spaniards in the 129 player field.

Cabrera Bello hopes that the home crowds can be as inspired by watching them as he was by the likes of Ballesteros and José María Olazábal.

‘As a player, I like to think that we put our little grain of sand to help golf grow as a game, nationally and internationally,’ he said.

‘The fact that we are lucky to have a player like Jon that has reached Number One in the world, that always has an immediate effect on people wanting to play golf and new kids wanting to join golf, and it is the same way a different generation inspired us.

‘I have said it a million times and I will never get tired of saying it: I saw Ollie win the ‘94 and ‘99 Masters, I have seen videos of Seve growing up when I was a little kid and those things made me dream about one day becoming a pro golfer.

‘So hopefully my win last year and Jon’s previous wins as well, and who knows if another Spaniard wins here this week, it will inspire other young kids to pick up the game.’

Rafa tees off in tomorrow’s (Thursday) first round at 2 pm with the English pairing of Tommy Fleetwood and Oliver Wilson.

World number six Jon Rahm is paired with Adri Arnaus, along with Min Woo Lee (Aus) with a 9.30 am tee time.