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May 12, 2017

Rafa Cabrera Bello

Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida

Q. Towards the end of the round you really made an impression with three birdies in the last four.
RAFA CABRERA BELLO: Yes, I did feel like I managed to generate some momentum at the very end. I was playing solid over the back nine, which were my first nine, I was giving myself chances, maybe not very accessible ones, but I was hitting most of the fairway, most of the greens, not really getting the birdies. I felt it was hard for me to generate momentum because I didn't feel putts were dropping.

The start of the back nine or the front nine, I started playing good again. I just kept doing the same way, stayed patient, and after my first birdie on the par-3 then I had like, I don't know, a bit of an unfortunate bogey on 4, but just stayed positive, stayed in the moment, and I managed to hit great shots and good putts over the last few holes.

Q. Seemed to come with the conditions got harder, you seemed to get a little better.
RAFA CABRERA BELLO: Yes, yeah, I mean, I just happened to hit the good shots there. I think that 7 today I think it was playing easy, all downwind. 9, I hit a really good drive and a good second shot, so got it up, just missed right of the green. 7 was, sorry, 6 was playing a bit trickier but I hit a really great drive off the tee and then just a nice wedge in. So I did feel that if you hit the good shots there were birdies out there and I managed to do that.

Q. Sergio's played well before here, Jon Rahm's playing well you're playing well, what's the Spanish secret?
RAFA CABRERA BELLO: I don't know, you should ask Sergio. He won here. He'll tell you.

Q. What does it say about Jon Rahm's game that, first time here, he's doing so well?
RAFA CABRERA BELLO: I think Jon Rahm's a superstar, he's just amazing to the entire world of golf. I played with him many practice rounds now, I obviously got to be more friends with him and it's just the amount of confidence that he has, but also proper based confidence on him. He's such a good ball-striker. Unique swing, but very, very powerful and talented golfer. So I think it's just going to be a superstar for many years to come.

Q. Were you aware of him when he was younger before he came over to the states to go to college? Was he kind of a known guy among the golfers in Spain?
RAFA CABRERA BELLO: Yes, for sure. I was aware, I mean we're all aware of him. I still stay in touch with kind of like the coaches and the Spanish captains when I was playing for the amateur team and --

Q. The national team?
RAFA CABRERA BELLO: The national team, yeah. They said that Jon was very good and obviously his results in college over here in the U.S. for sure backed him up. It's still a huge step from college to pro, but he's managed well.

Q. He's never been here before. Never played this course.
RAFA CABRERA BELLO: Try to explain that to him.

Q. You've only been here a few times yourself, what have you been learning as you go around?
RAFA CABRERA BELLO: It's a golf course that I think you need to play -- I mean, well I don't think, I'm sure you need to play good all around the bag. It doesn't necessarily suit any type of golfer. I think long players, short players, there's advantages for both types of players on the course. You have to be accurate off the tee, you want to really be hitting into the firm greens off the fairway, and of course, I mean the, you are going to miss some greens as well, it's hard to make up-and-downs, but just course management as well is very important. It's just a very complete course and it's a great challenge to play it. There's huge excitement at the end, obviously.

Q. So that will be the key for you, trying to manage the aggression and keeping things simple?
RAFA CABRERA BELLO: Yeah, I got to stick to my game plan. I made bogeys on the first couple rounds, obviously, but in a way I haven't felt that I am giving away shots. The bogeys have just come, just kind of like a natural way that, I don't know, bogeys happen, but on the other hand, I felt I've saved some potential bogeys and I'm also hitting good shots and rolling good putts.

Q. Curious, since you hooked up with Leadbetter you've skyrocketed back up the World Rankings to where you're pretty firmly established in the top-50 now. Is there any one or two things, any couple reasons why it's worked so well between you guys?
RAFA CABRERA BELLO: Yeah, I've been working with David for many years now, obviously he has helped me improve a lot. He's made me --

Q. I thought it was more recent. I'm sorry.
RAFA CABRERA BELLO: No, no, it's not recent at all. I know him since I'm an amateur. I'm good friends with his son, Andy, so, yeah, he's always kept an eye on me since my amateur days and early pro years, but over the past six years we have been more direct contact and frequent contact as well. For sure it's helped me a lot to understand my swing, to try to make it better little by little, because I don't like to make drastic changes or anything like that, so it's just gradually trying to become a better player and more consistent swing.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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