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OMEGA DUBAI DESERT CLASSIC


February 9, 2012


Rafa Cabrera Bello


DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

SARAH GWYNN:  Rafael, thank you very much for coming in.
RAFAEL CABRERA‑BELLO:¬† My pleasure.
SARAH GWYNN:  Just share with us what you had for breakfast this morning to start like that.
RAFAEL CABRERA‑BELLO:¬† Just some fruit, cereal and a few toasts.
SARAH GWYNN:  You shot 60 a few years back in the Australian Open.  Was that on your mind?
RAFAEL CABRERA‑BELLO:¬† It came through my mind for one second, not really the 60 but to say I was 9‑under after 11, so can I get to 59, but then I just quickly took it out as just a silly thought and I just thought, okay, just play as you've been doing, play one shot at a time, and I'm glad I stopped thinking about it.

Q.  And then you had seven straight pars.  Was that any way frustrating given how you started?
RAFAEL CABRERA‑BELLO:¬† No, not at all.¬† I mean really, I mean sometimes it happens that you get into and you start really good and then you expect more than what you should.
I mean I was aware that the last holes were ‑‑ especially the middle front nine are a few tough holes, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 9, they're tough holes to play, so I was actually happy I was parring them with no major difficulties.¬† So I mean I was glad I was giving myself the birdie chances, and I pretty much just told myself that if I kept giving me birdie chances, then maybe one of them will drop, but that was really ‑‑ I mean I was.¬† I was fine with just parring them.
SARAH GWYNN:  And did you come into this week feeling that that score was in the cards?
RAFAEL CABRERA‑BELLO:¬† No.¬† I mean I don't think that you feel like that, a score like that is in the cards.¬† You just feel that you're improving, you're playing good.¬† I was quite happy how I played last week the first two days.¬† I mean I was playing on the hard side of the draw, and I was really third of my side, so I felt I was ‑‑ I had played really good, maybe like the score ‑‑ or the final position did not reflect how I felt I had played that week, but the week before in Abu Dhabi as well, I really only had a bad first round.¬† The rest were three rounds under par, so I felt my game was good enough.
I mean I did feel I needed to improve off the tee a bit, and I think I did that today along with holing many, many putts today.
SARAH GWYNN:  Do we have any questions?

Q.  Congratulations.  Could you just talk a bit about the conditions because when I was out there there was barely a breeze at all, and presumably that helped?
RAFAEL CABRERA‑BELLO:¬† Yeah.¬† Absolutely.¬† The conditions this morning were ideal.¬† I mean we played in the morning.¬† The greens were absolutely perfect.¬† The ball was rolling exactly how you could picture it, and obviously that helps, and being there no wind at all makes it a bit easier because it's one thing less that you need to think about.
It's still tough to shoot 9‑under, no, but obviously the conditions helped, and it just made it easier to play good and score.

Q.  Rafael, according to your biography on the European Tour you've won every year as an amateur in the junior section from under 7 to under 18 in Spain and then the victory last on the European Tour was a couple of years ago.  You're used to so much of winning, was it really frustrating the last two years that you thought you didn't live up to your talent and perform as well?
RAFAEL CABRERA‑BELLO:¬† No, not frustrating.¬† I mean of course, I think that good amateurs, they can get very good, very easily used to winning and then once you turn pro, I mean it's a completely different story, no, and when you're amateur, especially at a young age I remember I was really only competing against two or three kids that we were really all ‑‑ that we were really all good enough that any of us could win, and now it's competing against 150 guys every week and any of them can win.
So obviously the chances of winning are reduced very, very quickly, unless you're someone like Tiger Woods or Luke Donald, you can get used to win, but it doesn't happen to me.  Of course I would have liked to have won more times, but I mean I'm happy with what I have achieved.  I'm happy I'm improving every year.  I feel my game is getting better, and hopefully my goal is to put myself in position of winning more often and I'm sure that that will be the way of winning more times.

Q.¬† Maybe you could just sum up your round.¬† I mean how did you feel about the round?¬† Especially when you had those birdies all the way for the first 9‑under through 11 holes.¬† What were some of the key moments in the round?¬† Was there any putts?¬† You said you had a lot of good putts, like how long and what holes?
RAFAEL CABRERA‑BELLO:¬† There were good putts.¬† None of them were particularly long.¬† The one that surprised me went in, not because I hit a bad putt and it just jumped and went in.¬† It was the only really one that surprised me a bit was hole No. 1, which was the longest one, and it was a hard putt, really was left to right break and pretty, pretty fast putt, and I was just really trying to two‑putt it, just lug it up and it went up in the other ones.
Most of the other birdies were either short putts or holeable putts that you're actually trying to make.¬† So to be one percent honest, I don't know what's the difference between a round like today and another round that you're playing great and you're 4 or 5‑under after nine holes.
I mean I just felt I played as good as other times.¬† It just happened that today a few more putts went in, and I think that that's the goal because it's not that I felt that I stroked the ball much, much better than other occasions.¬† I just felt that today I mean I shot 9‑under, I could have shot our or 5‑under and I would have felt as pleased, no?¬† Just a few putts made the difference, and obviously not having any dropped shots, and not really giving myself any dropped shot chances because I must have hit most of the greens, if not all of them, and really the longest putt for par I remember now having is right here on the 9th, and it was just a four‑foot putt.

Q.  Can you give a detail of all the nine birdies, what you hit over them?
RAFAEL CABRERA‑BELLO:¬† I'll tell you pretty much.¬† I mean I birdied 10, I started on 10.¬† So I birdied 10.¬† I hit a good pitch into the green just eight foot away and I holed that putt.¬† 11, good tee shot, the par three, great tee shot, four feet away, holed the putt.
And I don't know which other holes I birdied.  12 I birdied, too?  No, no.  12 I did not.  13, the par 5, another really good third shot because I laid up short of the green, really good third shot, three foot away, holed it.  Next hole it was a good putt, around 20 feet that I holed.  The 16, really good second shot, six, seven feet away, holed it again.
17, it was a good putt, like 15‑foot putt that I holed.¬† 18, I just two‑putted for birdie.¬† Then 1 was the putt I just told you about.¬† And 2, I pulled my driver a little bit, I missed the fairway on the left but I had a good angle to the flag.¬† I just played a good recovery shot from there to four feet and holed it again.
So really, just felt simple.  I know it's not and it's really, really hard to repeat, but it just felt that everything was going nice and smooth today.

Q.¬† You're obviously 9‑under, which is a very competitive score at this early stage.¬† I mean do you have a prediction as to what score you'd need to potentially win?
RAFAEL CABRERA‑BELLO:¬† No.¬† No prediction.¬† I mean winning is still out of the question for me.¬† It's three rounds to go.¬† Lots of lots of things can happen.¬† Probably I'm in the afternoon tee time, so probably by the time I tee off tomorrow someone else is going to be leading, so I'm just thinking that I'm just happy I shot a really, really good round, but tomorrow is a new day, and I need to ‑‑ not start from zero, but I'm going to try to think that.

Q.  Do you think you need to consolidate your position tomorrow then, given that you'll be out later?
RAFAEL CABRERA‑BELLO:¬† Oh, yeah, absolutely.¬† I mean I'm sure to try to win I need to play good tomorrow, the next day and the day after.¬† So I mean this is not even halfway through.¬† I mean many things can happen, so just take one step at a time, and I need to play really, really good again the next three days if I want to try to have a chance.¬† There's lots of great players here, much better players than myself, and if I shot 9‑under, they can do it as well.¬† So really, my 9‑under today is just a great round for me, a good feeling, just obviously I'm going to enjoy it, but tomorrow is a new day and I need to go for everything.¬† If not, someone else will do it and they'll end up beating me and beating the rest of us.

Q.  I mean it is an unusual position to be leading after even the clubhouse lead after the first day for you.  I mean do you start thinking I can win this tournament or as you said, I mean do you try to put that thought out of your head?
RAFAEL CABRERA‑BELLO:¬† No.¬† I think it's too soon.¬† I don't think that anyone who plays good any other tournament the first round they start thinking about winning.¬† I'm sure that's one thing you should not do.¬† If you are leading after three rounds, I understand you can think about winning.¬† Just leading after first round, you only need to think about how many times the first round leader ends up winning, which I don't think it's a really, really good percentage.¬† So if you want we can just take it that way.
I'm aware of that, I'm just happy I played good.  If you ask me if I want to be in this position every tournament, I'd say obviously yes, because it's really nice to play good first round, but in the end it doesn't mean anything.  It's too soon for anything to happen.

Q.  For you, what do you need to kind of build on that tomorrow?  Is it essentially going out and repeating the same thing?
RAFAEL CABRERA‑BELLO:¬† Yeah, absolutely.¬† First of all, I'm probably going to need to take the 9‑under out of my mind and just go play tomorrow and go look for the same feelings and same confidence and just the same way of enjoying and handling myself on the course, and that's the best way for me to try to perform.
I mean I feel that I perform good when I'm enjoying, when I'm relaxed, when I'm really, really confident, and that's what I'm going to look for tomorrow.  I'm not going to go look for any particular score.  I'm just going to go play and look for those feelings that I know help me perform good.

Q.  So Quiros won here last year.  What is it with Spaniards that do so well here?  Is there some connection?
RAFAEL CABRERA‑BELLO:¬† I don't know.¬† I think that it's just every time there's more and more Spaniards on tour, and I'm really pleased to be one of them.¬† Every time I think that we are all playing better and more competitive, it's not only Quiros.¬† It's also Pablo Martin, Alejandro Ca√Īizares, Lara, many of us, so obviously, Miguel Jim√©nez won here a few years ago.¬† Sergio this year is not playing, but I think he's been close on other occasions.¬† So I don't know.¬† It's just a lot of good players, and that's why perhaps we're making a little bit more noise.

Q.  You shot 60 in the final round of the Australian Open.  Was there any stage today when you thought maybe a 59 might be a possibility?
RAFAEL CABRERA‑BELLO:¬† Yeah.¬† As I said before ‑‑ no, that's okay.¬† I'll repeat it, no problem.¬† Yes, there was.¬† After 9‑under on my first 11 holes I momentarily thought about shooting 59, but I quickly took that silly thought out of my mind, I said, okay, just focus.¬† If it happens, it happens, but it's not going to happen just because you think about it.¬† It's the other way around.¬† When I played Australian, I had the putt for 59.¬† At that time I was not aware it was for a 59.¬† I just really wanted to two‑putt and get away off that last green with whatever score I finished.¬† So I wasn't aware I was putting for 59.
And today I said the only chance of doing it is if you stick to your routine and you keep playing as you've been playing.¬† If it happens, it happens.¬† It didn't happen.¬† Chances are it's not going to happen.¬† So just take it as it is, and definitely you shouldn't be thinking that if you want to do it.¬† Those are things that happen.¬† Miracle on the course happened to me once already, which was to shoot 11‑under to win by one.¬† I don't think there's many other people deserve miracles as well before I get my second one.

Q.  (Inaudible)?
RAFAEL CABRERA‑BELLO:¬† No, no.¬† I shoot 59 every day, but normally it takes me 14, 15 holes.
SARAH GWYNN:  Thanks, Rafael.  Good luck for the rest of the week.
RAFAEL CABRERA‑BELLO:¬† You're welcome.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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