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Cabrera Bello is the latest big shot confirmed for Irish Open at Portstewart

 

By Adam McKendry

The Dubai Duty Free Irish Open has another big name coming to it after 2016 Ryder Cup star Rafa Cabrera Bello confirmed he will be playing at Portstewart next month.

The World No.28, who finished fourth at last week's FedEx St. Jude Classic in Memphis, is the latest in a long list of top names to agree to compete on the north coast from the 6-9 July.

Spaniard Cabrera Bello joins the likes of World No.4 Hideki Matsuyama, his fellow countryman Jon Rahm and former US Open champion Justin Rose in a star-studded field, headlined by tournament host and defending champion Rory McIlroy.

The 33-year old has performed well at the Irish Open in the past, finishing in the top 10 in four of his last five appearances, including second at Royal Portrush in 2013 and then narrowly missing out on a three-way play-off at Royal County Down in 2015.

A two-time European Tour winner, Cabrera Bello now plays on the PGA Tour, where he made a name for himself by finishing third in last year's WGC-Matchplay Championship, beating McIlroy in the third place match.

"I absolutely love playing in the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open," said Cabrera Bello, who is in good form having also finished in the top five at the Players Championship last month.

"It's always one of my favourite events and you can see that in my recent record at this event.

"The atmosphere is always incredible and I love playing in front of such knowledgeable golf fans. I really enjoy playing on classic links courses too and I think they really suit my game."

This year's event is part of the European Tour's Rolex Series, a premium set of events as part of the tour's Race to Dubai, meaning there is a larger prize fund of US$7m.

"With this tournament now a part of the Rolex Series, I think it will be even more special and it looks like it will be a really strong field so I'm looking forward to a great week," Cabrera Bello added.

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