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Rafa rules, Dodt books Birkdale berth in Scotland

(Photo: Getty Images)
A blistering Sunday 64 has seen popular Spaniard Rafa Cabrera Bello claim his first title in five years while Australia’s Andrew Dodt played his way into next week’s Open Championship on a thrilling Sunday at the Scottish Open.

Dodt will have mixed feelings about his T4 finish after taking the outright lead early Sunday but there will be no such emotional dilemma for an ecstatic Cabrera Bello.

The Spaniard triumphed in extra time over England’s Callum Shinkwin, who will be gutted after making his only bogey of the day at the par-5 18th when par would have seen him lift the trophy.

The second-year European Tour player looked invincible all day and was on the brink of an extraordinary win when he blasted his tee shot at the last.

Shinkwin had missed nine cuts in 11 starts prior to this week’s tournament but with the final green within range in two, victory looked the most likely outcome.

Disaster struck, however, when he pulled his long iron second shot and was left with a diabolically difficult pitch across a bunker from a downhill lie with the ball sitting in a divot.

It was no surprise he failed to get up and down and Cabrera Bello capitalised on the mistake with a magnificent 3-wood to set up a winning two-putt birdie at the first extra hole.

While Cabrera Bello was overjoyed with his third European Tour victory both Andrew Dodt and New Zealand’s Ryan Fox will feel they let one slip after adventurous final rounds.

Dodt began Sunday with a share of the lead and was alone at the top after making two birdies in his first four holes.

But he couldn’t maintain the momentum and after making the turn 2-under for the day made just one par in six holes to start the back nine, four bogeys and a birdie seeing him slip out of contention.

Fox, too, had some fun and games on the back nine starting with a holed provisional from the tee at the par-3 11th for an extraordinary par.

With his tee shot deep in gorse bushes near the green the New Zealander hit a second from the tee in case he couldn’t find the original but didn’t even bother looking after the provisional found the cup.

Two birdies in the next three holes had him within touching distance of the leaders but another errant tee shot ended his run at the 16th.

A wild drive into the long grass was never found and while he escaped with a bogey after playing his second provisional of the day the damage was done, another bogey at the 17th sealing his fate.

Adam Scott was the next best of the Australians in a share of 35th, his week derailed by a Saturday 78 when the weather was at its worst.

Continuing his 2017 ploy of playing the week before each of the majors Scott was well placed inside the top 15 through 36 holes and likely pleased with his tactic.

But having not played competitively since the US Open the rust showed when conditions turned difficult and while he won’t have enjoyed shooting a bIg number Saturday the run will hold him in good stead next week.

Sam Brazel and Jason Scrivener finished alongside Scott at 2-under whole Brett Rumford, Marcus Fraser, Wade Ormsby and Scott Hend all missed the cut.


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