The 37-year-old is one stroke behind Frenchman Julien Guerrier, who equalled his best European Tour finish in the Spanish capital last week when he finished T3 behind Cabrera Bello. After his four under par round of 67, Guerrier holds a first round lead on the European Tour for the first time in his career.
Sitting in third is Guerrier’s compatriot Romain Langasque, who carded a two under par 69. Søren Kjeldsen, winner of the 2008 Volvo Masters at Valderrama, is one of seven players in a share of fourth on one under par.
Frenchman Raphaël Jacquelin is also one under par with one hole to play after the first round was suspended due to darkness in Sotogrande.
Rafa Cabrera Bello: “I felt like I did everything pretty well. If I were to highlight something, I’d say my putting was really good. I had a lot of testers – that’s normal on a windy day with fast greens, except for one I made everything inside eight or ten feet. I felt that was the difference for me.
“It’s already an intimidating course when there’s no wind. With wind it makes it all that tougher, but at the end you just accept it is what it is. It’s going to be hard, the wind will switch, you’ll end up in some tricky spots. You know it’s a different type of tournament where three pars in a row equals a birdie. That’s what you have in mind and that’s how I tried to deal with this course and other courses that are as tough as this one.”
Julien Guerrier: “It was really complicated today. The wind was growing stronger on the back nine, I think it’s going to stay like that all day. I had two bogeys on the score card, very few, and six birdies. It’s good to have six birdies in these conditions.
“I was putting really well. We know with these firm greens, they are really quick, and with this wind it’s very difficult. But I holed a few long putts on the first and the third, and after I hit a lot of greens in regulation. That was the key.
“I think I’m more relaxed (after last week). I’m playing to shoot a low score, not save my card, that’s the main thing. We work every day, improve our game and it’s working at the end of the year.”
Romain Langasque: “Patience was the key. I played solid all day long. I was just trying to enjoy myself the course today and just try to play golf – on this course you have to play golf. It was a good round and I’m really happy with it.
“I remember on the range I said to my coach that the par would be three over this afternoon and I’d just try to beat three over. That worked really well. I could have been better because I had so many birdie opportunities. It was a good round, really solid and I’m really looking forward to the next three days.”
Scores after Round One
67 J GUERRIER (FRA),
68 R CABRERA BELLO (ESP),
69 R LANGASQUE (FRA),
70 S SODERBERG (SWE), J HANSEN (DEN), S KJELDSEN (DEN), A JOHNSTON (ENG), R FOX (NZL), W BESSELING (NED),
71 T PULKKANEN (FIN), R PARATORE (ITA), D GAVINS (ENG), P LARRAZ?BAL (ESP), D LIPSKY (USA), A MERONK (POL), P WARING (ENG), D HOWELL (ENG), M FITZPATRICK (ENG), M SOUTHGATE (ENG), A CA?IZARES (ESP),
72 S GARCIA RODRIGUEZ (ESP), J SURI (USA), A RAI (ENG), J CALDWELL (NIR), T DETRY (BEL), Z LOMBARD (RSA), T OLESEN (DEN), N BERTASIO (ITA), J MORRISON (ENG), S JAMIESON (SCO), J LAGERGREN (SWE), A BJ?RK (SWE), S V?LIM?KI (FIN), R ROCK (ENG), N ELVIRA (ESP), A CHESTERS (ENG), H LI (CHN),
73 F ZANOTTI (PAR), J SCRIVENER (AUS), J CAMPILLO (ESP), R MACINTYRE (SCO), B WIESBERGER (AUT), M LEE (AUS), M KAWAMURA (JPN), N H?JGAARD (DEN), J SMITH (ENG), O WILSON (ENG), A OTAEGUI (ESP), J LUITEN (NED), D HORSEY (ENG), G STORM (ENG), A QUIROS (ESP), J CATLIN (USA), R RAMSAY (SCO), M LORENZO-VERA (FRA),
74 G FORREST (SCO), G GREEN (MAS), M KAYMER (GER), C SHINKWIN (ENG), J HARDING (RSA), C SYME (SCO), L GAGLI (ITA), J WINTHER (DEN), E DE LA RIVA (ESP), M SCHWAB (AUT), S TARRIO (ESP), L CANTER (ENG), S CROCKER (USA), W NIENABER (RSA), M PAVON (FRA), K REITAN (NOR), M KIEFFER (GER),
75 A LEVY (FRA), M KINHULT (SWE), T BJ?RN (DEN), M ARMITAGE (ENG), N COLSAERTS (BEL), M WARREN (SCO), A ROZNER (FRA), A WU (CHN), D LAW (SCO), K BROBERG (SWE), R BLAND (ENG), P HANSON (SWE), E MOLINARI (ITA), L BJERREGAARD (DEN),
76 M KORHONEN (FIN), T PIETERS (BEL), G COETZEE (RSA), D DRYSDALE (SCO), O FISHER (ENG), L SHEPHERD (AM) (ENG), S GALLACHER (SCO), R MCEVOY (ENG), C WOOD (ENG), P ANGLES (ESP), J SENIOR (ENG),
77 B HEBERT (FRA), G FDEZ-CASTA?O (ESP), A ARNAUS (ESP), M SIEM (GER), D VAN TONDER (RSA), F LAPORTA (ITA), J JANEWATTANANOND (THA), K SAMOOJA (FIN),
78 A PAVAN (ITA), J DONALDSON (WAL), R FISHER (ENG), S BROWN (ENG), V DUBUISSON (FRA), S HEND (AUS), V PEREZ (FRA), J RAHM (ESP), E PEPPERELL (ENG), R MCGOWAN (ENG),
79 J WALTERS (RSA), S SHARMA (IND), J BALLESTEROS (ESP),
80 A SULLIVAN (ENG), M CAMPBELL (NZL),
81 G MIGLIOZZI (ITA),
82 H PORTEOUS (RSA), G BHULLAR (IND), C PAISLEY (ENG),
83 J STALTER (FRA),