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Cabrera-Bello Looks to Continue Hot-Streak at Oakmont

The 2016 US Open, looks set to be one the most difficult to win in recent memory. Not only is the level of competition amongst the players incredible, the host golf course seems to playing more difficult than it ever has.

The venue is Oakmont Country Club, Pennsylvania. It will be the ninth time the US Open has been played at Oakmont, the last time being in 2007, won by Angel Cabrera of Argentina. Cabrera finished at +5, and the cut-line was an astonishing 26 over par. Many of the world’s top-ranked players’ US Open hopes diminished as the sun set over the “Church Pews” bunkers that line the course.

Jordan Spieth, the defending US Open champion, has called Oakmont the toughest test in golf, so how will those, perhaps new to the course, cope with the conditions? Rafael Cabrera-Bello will be playing in his third US Open tournament, having previously finished T47 in 2010 and missing the cut in 2012. However, the Spaniard will be arriving at Oakmont this year, positive of improving on those statistics.

Cabrera-Bello comes into the 2016 US Open full of confidence, having qualified due to his world ranking, which is currently number 28, a career best. To think Cabrera-Bello started the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship in January, 112th in the world, yet within six months, has propelled himself into the top 30, and is testament to his fantastic progress. Results such as a T2 at the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters and Omega Dubai Desert Classic, 3rd at the WGC Dell Match Play, 4th at the Shell Houston Open and T8 at the Dubai Duty-Free Irish Open, highlight what a tremendous 2016 he’s enjoyed so far.

 

 

So why the recent significant improvement in tournament results? In a recent interview for the Golf Channel show Fairways of Life, Cabrera-Bello commented on his work with David Leadbetter, saying:

David has helped me a lot, to understand my swing, understand my game, understand my weaknesses”, before adding “With David we have looked at my stats, broken down the numbers and looked where to improve.

The working relationship with Leadbetter, has clearly been working. He also went on to mention the long-standing off-course relationship he has with his coach:

“My relationship with David is almost like a father-son relationship, he’s known me since I was 13 years old. He’s really seen my progress throughout my entire career, and the last 5-6 years he has been much more involved. What I like with David is that my swing has been improving through the years, but it’s been a very PROGRESSIVE improvement, it has never stopped me from playing or performing during swing changes.”


Cabrera-Bello is a man full of confidence right now but the US Open is going to a real test, with the greens so quick, the chatter around media, and even the locker room, are using the word “unplayable.” The legendary Sam Snead once said that he tried to mark his ball at Oakmont but his coin slid off the putting surface. Thankfully, Cabrera-Bello has noted a real improvement on the greens this year, which could prove crucial, as the Spaniard being his first round on Thursday.

Rafa will be joined at the 2016 US Open, by fellow LGA students, Byeong-Hun An and Ernie Els, the latter a two-time winner of the tournament.