Cabrera Bello delighted to make dream Ryder Cup debut
Rafa Cabrera Bello was delighted to make his Ryder Cup debut alongside countryman Sergio Garcia as the Spanish pair secured a vital point for Europe in the fourballs on day one.
After losing the foursomes 4-0, the visitors needed a big session at Hazeltine National and they produced when it mattered, winning the fourballs 3-1 to trail just 5-3 heading into day two.
Garcia had lost his match in the morning 4 and 2 alongside Martin Kaymer, with Cabrera Bello made to wait until the second set of matches to hit his first shot in Ryder Cup golf.
That first shot was a beauty, an opening drive to help set up a birdie and set the tone for a 3 and 2 victory over JB Holmes and Ryan Moore.
Garcia played his part too, with a chip-in on the ninth the first of a run of three birdies and a stunning second shot to the 16th setting up the point-sealing birdie.
Spaniards have a long and illustrious Ryder Cup history with Seve Ballesteros and José María Olazábal winning 12 points from 15 matches together, and while Cabrera Bello and Garcia may never hit those incredible heights, they were delighted to form a successful pairing.
"It's been a real honour to play today," said Cabrera Bello. "Playing alongside Sergio was something extremely special. If I would have picked a partner, I couldn't have picked anyone better than him to join me in my first Ryder Cup match.
"I'm proud that we played great, that we felt very comfortable, we rooted for one another and that we got the point for Europe.
"He's such a world class player. I learned so much throughout this year practising with him. To play together here, I just knew that it didn't matter if I messed up that he was going to be there. Luckily I didn't mess up much today."
While Cabrera Bello is playing his first Ryder Cup, it is an eighth for Garcia who has already forged successful partnerships with Jesper Parnevik, Lee Westwood and Luke Donald.
"It was awesome to play with Rafa," he said. "He's a great friend of mine and an unbelievable player. I think everybody saw that today. Any time I was a little bit out, he stepped up and he hit a great shot.
"I think we felt really comfortable. We've played a lot of golf together and it was great to get paired and get a win.
"It was important mainly because we didn't have a good morning. We needed to go out here and do something better than we did this morning. We're back in it.
"I love it. I love golf. Obviously this is very special for us."