The third round of the ACCIONA Open de España presented by Madrid completely reshuffled the leaderboard as none of the three players in the final group ended the day at its peak. That honour fell to Canary Islander Rafa Cabrera after a spectacular -7 (64).
It was his second consecutive round of the blemish-free, solid golf he has been producing for years; efficiently creating plenty of birdie chances and making the most of several of them.
He practically cruised through his seven-birdie round at the Club de Campo Villa de Madrid today, which even included several missed birdie putts. All of this has taken him to within one round of his fourth European Tour victory and his first on Spanish soil. Tomorrow he will tee off with a two-shot lead over Arnaus and Frenchman Guerrier.
“It was a fantastic day of golf, apart from the great par save I made on 2, I didn’t find any trouble and I had plenty of birdie chances. I did miss several, but I also holed a lot, and in general it’s a round I can be very happy with. Two rounds without a bogey on this course is very positive, I hope to continue that way tomorrow because I will have a great chance”.
He finished second behind Jon Rahm in 2019 and his love affair with the course is continuing this week. Tomorrow he will be the favourite to lift the trophy.
“Two years ago, I don’t think I had a bad Sunday, Jon simply played amazingly well and didn’t give anyone a chance. Tomorrow, although I have a two-shot lead, it won’t be simple because there are a lot of people in the mix that have the ability to go very low.”
After a difficult season in which he lost his PGA Tour card, Cabrera seems to have rediscovered his A-game, and he could not have chosen a better place to do so; at a tournament where he has a history of performing well and where, so far, he is outplaying none other than the world number one.
“I think it’s the ham in Spain, it oils your joints up… seriously though, it does me a lot of good having my family close by and of course the fans behind me, all of that gives me extra confidence and helps things go well. The public have helped with their cheers and if they are here and want to see me play well, I have to do everything possible to give them that. This week it seems like things are working.”
The other main opportunity for a Spanish triumph comes in the form of Adri Arnaus, who had another good day on the course, although he left a few more shots out there than he would have liked.
Five birdies, three of them on par 3s and a sole mishap on the 12th gave him a card of 67, the same as on day one:
“I’m pretty happy with today’s round, I played well and it was fun playing with so many people, it reminded me of what happened in 2019, although at the start it took me a while to get used to it”.
After his fourth-position finish in 2019, Arnaus will tee off tomorrow with experience of being in the battle for his home open on day four, and with the fans behind him:
“For a Spaniard, winning the Open de España is like a fifth major, it’s really special, let’s hope I can do it tomorrow.”
Jon Rahm can never be written off on the final day, but with a six-shot deficit and eight players in front of him, he would have to produce something truly special, which is why the biggest bid for a home win will come from these other two Spaniards.
However, they will have to see off a few other players who also went low today at Club de Campo Villa de Madrid, such as French player Guerrier (-15), Jack Senior (-14) and Alex Levy (-12).
It is worth noting that of the 15 players in top-10 positions, nine of them will be looking for their first European Tour title at this ACCIONA Open de España presented by Madrid.