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June 17, 2010

Rafa Cabrera Bello


Q. How was the course? Was it firm and fast?
RAFAEL CABRERA - BELLO: Yeah, just like pretty much the same as it was the practice rounds. The greens are very fast, that you are very firm, the fairway rough, it is okay. I think it's not as big as in years past. Around the greens it's really, really thick and it's very challenging.

Q. How did the playing conditions change throughout the day?
RAFAEL CABRERA - BELLO: Well I think that I -- I mean I was a bit lucky because I was first out today this morning and it didn't happen to be a very cold morning like say Tuesday, for example.
So the weather, I mean it was pretty warm fairly quick so I got to play like, I don't know seven or eight holes in very, very nice weather, with good winds. And then the winds started picking up I think by my ninth or 109 holes.

Q. How much have you played here in the States?
RAFAEL CABRERA - BELLO: As a junior I played a lot. I used to come all the family we used to come and play Doral and Orange Bowl when we were little and then as an amateur I did the Summer Series. The Western Amateur, all that. But as a pro it is my first time here.

Q. What did you think when you were the first off this morning? Were you happy with that tee time, 7 o'clock first guy out? Was there anybody out there for you?
RAFAEL CABRERA - BELLO: No, there was some guys, yeah. Surprisingly there was a few guys, yeah. But, no, probably not, they didn't come to see me, but there were some guys that were there, yeah.
It was just a pleasure. I told myself, just enjoy, it's really, really nice just to be here and I just tried to make the most out of it. I tried to stay calm and just play like I did, like if it were any other round.

Q. Did you play the European qualifier to be here?

Q. How did you do there?
RAFAEL CABRERA - BELLO: Finished third.

Q. Do you have any stories from there?
RAFAEL CABRERA - BELLO: I had four birdies in the last seven holes to finish third. And I shot 8-under and 7-under went to the playoff, so. I had a good finish.

Q. Did you resist looking at the leaderboard at all today?
RAFAEL CABRERA - BELLO: No, I mean I looked at it, but not to put myself in any pressure or anything, just for looking at it. I was just enjoying it. I was having a laugh, and I'm going like, okay, what's going on right here? What am I doing up there?

Q. Guys kid you a little bit about the World Cup game yesterday?
RAFAEL CABRERA - BELLO: Absolutely. Everyone I see it's like, hey, how is soccer going? And I'm like, oh, thank you.

Q. Did you birdie your last hole in the qualifier?
RAFAEL CABRERA - BELLO: No, no, I birdied four out of the last seven, but no, so I had 4-under on the last seven. I made one eagle and two birdies.

Q. How many practice rounds did you get in here and I imagine this is your first time here this week?
RAFAEL CABRERA - BELLO: I was here Monday already but my clubs didn't get here until Monday night. So first day I just walked a bit of the course and just to get a feel for the layout. And then full practice round Tuesday and Wednesday.

Q. Did the airline lose your bag?
RAFAEL CABRERA - BELLO: Well, they didn't lose it, they actually forgot it in Philadelphia.

Q. What was the route?
RAFAEL CABRERA - BELLO: I did, I'm from the Canary Islands. I did Madrid, and then I actually I couldn't fly because I, there was something wrong with my passport, so I ended up having to apply for another passport and missing the flight I had to fly in Sunday because I was planning on coming here Saturday night and couldn't get here until Sunday night.
And then my clubs spent the night in Philadelphia and then I luckily got them here.

Q. So Madrid-Philadelphia to here?
RAFAEL CABRERA - BELLO: Yeah. San Francisco.

Q. Were you a little nervous about the clubs?
RAFAEL CABRERA - BELLO: Well, I mean when you're on the belt you're waiting for them and you see that everyone has got their stuff and you're still waiting around, I mean you see the like the airline bag that says like this is the last bag out and you're like, oh I'm still wondering maybe they come out through the over size baggage or something.
But, no. And then initially you get nervous but once they told you where they are, once they actually know where they are, then it should be it should take a day.

Q. (Inaudible.)

Q. Did you think about getting other clubs?
RAFAEL CABRERA - BELLO: Not really. I know here that the Titleist guys will give me a hand if I really needed them to, but since they knew where the clubs were and they were supposed to arrive here Monday afternoon, so I mean I just asked the guys to build me a few wedges so I could practice a bit and that's it. That was it.

Q. Is this your first Major? Have you played in the British before?
RAFAEL CABRERA - BELLO: No, this is my first Major, yes.

Q. What was it like standing on the first tee, did you get a little nervous?
RAFAEL CABRERA - BELLO: Well, it was a nice pleasure. These are the best course I ever played in. I really, really like it. I think it's absolutely beautiful. The scenery and just where it is, it's, I cannot describe it properly. And I just really wanted to enjoy it.

Q. Did you ever imagine that you would see your name on top of the leaderboard?
RAFAEL CABRERA - BELLO: No, I think the only time I imagine it I was like eight or nine years old and I would see other guys playing and I would just dream about it. But, no, I wasn't really thinking about that or anything, I just wanted to play, have a good time, and try to do as best as I can.

Q. What do you expect now from the rest of the week?
RAFAEL CABRERA - BELLO: Well, I mean absolutely nothing. I think if I would come hear and have any expectations, I think if anything I played good today because I was actually doing the exact opposite, not really expecting anything of me, it is my first Major, and I'm just going to learn a lot just for being here and I mean I'm just going to try to play one shot at a time and as good as I can, but not expect anything.

Q. Where do you play regularly?
RAFAEL CABRERA - BELLO: I play on the European Tour.

Q. What were the highlights of your round today, best shots, worse shots, trouble shots, miracle shots.
RAFAEL CABRERA - BELLO: The worst shot was my second shot on the 18th. I completely pulled the 2-iron to the middle of the Pacific, so that was really bad. And then the rest of the shots was very, I mean it was very easy. I hit most of the fairway, never put myself in any real danger and I think my second shots I played them very smart. All always tried to be below the hole whenever I could and leave myself easy recoveries and I holed a couple good putts and I think that was it.

Q. What airline did you fly?
RAFAEL CABRERA - BELLO: I flew Air Europa to Madrid and then U.S. Airways.

Q. Is it hard to be in a place so beautiful and not be able to play?
RAFAEL CABRERA - BELLO: Yeah, from the moment I qualified I couldn't wait to be here and when I got here I'm like I couldn't play with my clubs, I'm like, okay. Luckily I knew I had another two days.

Q. Were there moments out there today when you were just sort of in awe of the surroundings?
RAFAEL CABRERA - BELLO: No, today I think that this course is, if you lose your concentration just for minute, I mean the course is going to beat you and it's going to hit you very hard. So I really tried to stay calm and stay focused on my task and I think I did it as good as I could.

Q. Was there any concern about the passport? Getting a new passport?
RAFAEL CABRERA - BELLO: Well, I mean, no, not the, not concerned about the passport, no. It was when I applied for the passport it was, when I applied for the ESTA Visa thing that you need to do to come here, that for initially because it was only like 20 minutes before my flight leave, it appeared that it was, that it was, I mean, my flight was -- I wasn't authorized to fly.
So I'm like, okay it's Saturday morning, the Embassy is closed. It doesn't open until Monday, I'm like well now what. And I got an e-mail afterward saying that I was okay that I was good to fly.

Q. Where did you stay?
RAFAEL CABRERA - BELLO: At My uncle's in Madrid. I have family there.

Q. Did you ever think at all about playing college golf over here?
RAFAEL CABRERA - BELLO: I thought about it, but I ended up, I went to American school in Las Palmas, but I ended up going in college in the Canary Islands.

Q. Did you have a long wait on No. 3 on your second shot?
RAFAEL CABRERA - BELLO: No. 3? Yes, we did. Yeah. Yeah, because it was one of the previous, in the previous group hit it in the middle of the 16th green and it was a bit of a hassle. He didn't know where to drop it. But it was all right.

Q. What's been the most amazing experience so far this, you know, this week for you?
RAFAEL CABRERA - BELLO: Well, I think right now I mean just finishing my first round and getting back to the clubhouse with my parents being here with me and seeing my name on the top of the leaderboard for now and that's about as good as -- well that's much better than what I was thinking.

Q. What are your parents names?
RAFAEL CABRERA - BELLO: Rafael and Emma.

Q. E-M-M-A?

Q. How many total tournaments, junior tournaments have you played?
RAFAEL CABRERA - BELLO: I mean junior tournaments, I mean like 15 or 20. And amateur tournaments, another 12 or something like that.

Q. Quite a bit.
RAFAEL CABRERA - BELLO: Quite a bit. Yeah.

Q. Have you played on the west coast?
RAFAEL CABRERA - BELLO: Arizona was the furthest west I had traveled.

Q. Would you like to play here full-time one day?
RAFAEL CABRERA - BELLO: Sure. Absolutely. I think this is a -- this is where the best players are. Where the most world ranking points are given and, yeah my goal is to play here some day.

Q. Have you tried the Q-School here?
RAFAEL CABRERA - BELLO: I never tried it so far, no.

Q. This year maybe?

Q. Just kind of cut your teeth on the -- see how it feels on the European Tour and get some --
RAFAEL CABRERA - BELLO: Yeah it's the fourth year I'm playing on the European Tour. I have my first win last year at the Austrian Open, so I mean I'm learning a lot. I think the European Tour is a really really good place to play because I mean we play very, very different golf courses week after week. So it's really -- it really helps you grow a lot as a player.

Q. Are you in the Open Championship?
RAFAEL CABRERA - BELLO: No, I'm not. I'm not yet, no. I have to qualify. I didn't try to qualify.

Q. So are you going to try for The Open qualifying?
RAFAEL CABRERA - BELLO: It's Monday, and I don't think I'll get there in time.

Q. Just win this tournament and you'll be in?
RAFAEL CABRERA - BELLO: Yeah. That would be another thing, yeah.

End of FastScripts

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