Cabrera records biggest moment in his career
BY Bruce Young | European PGA Tour | 2005 BMW Championship | Wrap | 30 May 2005
Angel Cabrera has recorded his most significant victory in golf today by winning the BMW Championship and on a golf course where he clearly feels very comfortable.
Cabrera has been runner up twice in this event, or its equivalent, the PGA Championship, and after a third placing in Ireland last week he would no doubt have arrived at Wentworth feeling like he had a great chance of taking the title. So it was to prove.
The 35-year-old Cabrera has developed into one of the leading players in Europe, if not the world, recording top tens in three of the four majors and regularly featuring on the Volvo Order of Merit in recent years. He has been inside the top twenty in the world at various stages and given the strength of the field at Wentworth this week, the win should ensure he improves significantly on his current 28th position.
From a small village just outside of Cordoba in Argentina, Cabrera got started in the game, as many from his country have, by caddying. The Argentine’s leading golfer in recent years, Eduardo Romero encouraged Cabrera to take up the game and so convinced was Romero by the latent talent shown by Cabrera, that he funded some of his early campaigns in professional golf. When he finally gained access to the European Tour in 1996, Cabrera retained his card in that first season when sandwiched between the winner Tom Kite and third placed Seve Ballesteros at his season ending event, the Oki Pro Am in Spain and he was on his way.
His first win on the European Tour did not come until the Argentina Open in 2001 but it may well have been his share of fourth at the Open Championship at Carnoustie in 1999 that emphasised just how good a player he was and could be. His last round of 70 that week saw him miss the playoff by one but he had “arrived”, so to speak. He has since gone on to figure prominently amongst the leading players in Europe each season.
The interesting aspect of the BMW Championship is that in recent years, despite the class of the field, the event has been won by arguably lesser players on the European Tour with the last four winners hardly amongst the who’s who of European golf. Andrew Oldcorn, Anders Hansen, Ignacio Garrido and Scott Drummond, with the greatest respect, hardly reflect the quality of the fields against which they have competed, but Angel Cabrera has the record on the course and the status in the game to give the champion’s list a little more oomph.
Cabrera took a share of the 54 hole lead into the final day and played with his co-leader Peter Hedblom on day four. The Argentine’s birdie at the par three second was immediately cancelled out with a bogey at the third but then came an eagle at the 4th to have him in the lead. Paul McGinley however was emerging as the man most likely to challenge the leader and when he birdied the 3rd 4th, 5th, 6th and 8th the Irishman was at 13 under and had moved ahead. At about the time Cabrera birdied the 11th to join the Irishman in the lead at 13 under, McGinley birdied the 12th to move ahead again briefly but Cabrera was always likely to birdie the 12th himself, which he did, and they were again locked together, but now at 14 under. Who would crack first in an event that would mean so much to both?
The answer would come four holes later when McGinley bogeyed the short par four 16th and then as he dropped yet another shot at the 17th, Cabrera birdied the 16th to move three ahead. McGinley birdied the last after his second to the par five found the green but with a three shot cushion on the 18th tee, later reduced to two by McGinley’s birdie, Cabrera avoided major trouble with his three wood from the tee and then laid up with his second from the right hand rough. When he hit his approach to 20 feet he effectively had three putts to win but took only two and the title was his by two over a gallant but no doubt disappointed McGinley.
Nick O’Hern continued his remarkable run of consistency with a last round of 64, which like his last round last week, was the best of the day and he finished third, two behind McGinley. For O’Hern this was his 15th top ten in his last 29 starts on the European Tour and his 10th top five. His cheque for €250,000 was the second largest of his career behind that he received for his runner up placing at the French Open last year. He moves to 8th on the 2005 European Tour Order of Merit.
David Howell continued his brilliant recent form when fourth, while the Swedish trio of Martin Olander, Peter Hanson and Peter Hedblom shared fifth place.
New Zealander Michael Campbell was the next best of the Australasians on a golf course where to a large extent he began his career in Europe. In his very first season on the main tour in 1995 he finished runner up to Bernhard Langer establishing a great platform for his rookie season that year. Campbell has shown significant improvement in recent weeks this being his third top ten in his last five starts. His birdie-eagle finish today saw him make up a huge amount of ground and money. His eagle at the last courtesy of a fifty foot putt was his second of the day having eagled the 4th earlier. It was a mixture of three birdies, two eagles and six bogeys but it was yet further evidence that Campbell is close to winning form after a period in the wilderness.
Of the leading lights Ernie Els was again disappointing in this event finishing 39th on a golf course where he has dominated the World Match Play in recent years. Retief Goosen was reasonable in 11th place and Darren Clarke was forced to withdraw on after round two with the news that his wife was again undergoing cancer treatment. Colin Montgomerie may well have missed a chance to move inside the top fifty in the world despite a last round 66. The ranking which will decide those inside the top fifty as at May 30th and therefore eligible for the US Open will be published later today.
Of the other Australasians Peter Fowler was 18th, Peter Lonard 22nd, Richard Green 33rd and Marcus Fraser 49th and Stephen Scahill 49th.
The European Tour now heads to Wales for the Celtic Manor Wales Open but many here will be heading for Ohio of the Memorial on the USPGA Tour.