MARANA, Ariz. -- Martin Kaymer, who made the clinching putt in the Ryder Cup, never trailed in his match with Rafael Cabrera Bello, who had beaten him in the Volvo World Matchplay.
"It was a tough match," Kaymer said. "It's never easy against him. But he was very unfortunate with some putts today. He had a few chances to go back to all square, especially on the back nine, but I played very solidly. Hit a lot of fairways, hit a lot of greens, hit good putts. Very similar to yesterday."
He took the early lead with a two-putt birdie at the par-5 second hole but gave that back with a bogey at the fourth. The German managed to head to the back nine 2 up, though, after a birdie at the seventh and a par to the Spaniard's bogey at No. 9.
Kaymer made an 8-footer for his final birdie of the day at the 11th hole to go 3 up. Cabrera Bello did cut into Kaymer's lead at the next par 5 but the two halved the next four holes with pars to send the German to the third round for the third straight year.
Kaymer reached the championship match in 2010, losing to Luke Donald 3 and 2, and was eliminated in the third round a year ago. He has a home in Scottsdale, which is about 90 minutes away, and is very familiar with desert golf.
"So this is golf that I play very often," said Kaymer, who joined the PGA TOUR for the first time this year. "I don't mind playing here. I like it, it's just really nice. That's why I always play very well in the Middle East, very similar conditions to here."
SCORECARD STATS: Kaymer made three birdies and two bogeys. Cabrera Bello made two birdies and two bogeys.
HOLES WON: Kaymer won four holes. Cabrera Bello won two holes.
NEXT OPPONENT: Hunter Mahan, the defending champion, who beat Richard Sterne 4 and 3.
MARANA, Ariz. -- Rafael Cabrera Bello is ranked 60th in the world, 52 spots below where Lee Westwood ranks. But rankings made no difference on Thursday, as the Spaniard knocked off Westwood in 19 holes in one of the biggest upsets in the first round.
Cabrera Bello, a 15th seed, will now play Martin Kaymer in the second round of the Player bracket.
Cabrera Bello was making just his second appearance in this event, having lost in the first round last year to Jason Day. But he overcame a sluggish start to beat the second-seeded Westwood, who had reached the semifinals here last year.
"Obviously the odds were in his favor," Cabrera Bello said, "but in match play, anything cann happen. I just tried my best and I was fortunate enough to win."
Westwood was 2 up through five holes, with Cabrera Bello bogeying three of those holes. But he steadied himself to play bogey-free golf the rest of the match.
He was still 3 down at the turn but he won the 10th hole with a birdie, then squared the match with pars at the 13th and 14th holes.
Westwood regained the lead with a birdie at the 15th but gave it back when he bogeyed the 18th, missing a 7-foot putt that would have clinched the win.
Cabrera Bello then won the match on the first extra hole when he rolled in a birdie putt from 10-1/2 feet.
AKRON, Ohio -- Overnight leader Jim Furyk has only played two holes and already he's doubled his lead on the rest of the field.
A par at No. 1 was good enough to extend Furyk's lead to three. That's because playing partner Rafael Carbrera-Bello, who trailed by two, made double bogey after barely getting out of a greenside bunker, shanking his chip and two-putting from 43 feet.
Furyk then birdied the par-5 second from the fringe to move to 12 under. Louis Oosthuizen is currently alone in second at 8 under after opening with three straight pars while Cabrera-Bello and Jason Dufner are tied, another stroke off the pace.
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
AKRON, Ohio -- Remember the saying: beware the injured golfer?
Well, look no farther than Rafael Cabrera Bello this week at the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational for proof.
The Spaniard, who is two strokes off Jim Furyk's lead after two rounds at Firestone, picked up some sort of stomach virus on his way to the United States. He was so weak on Tuesday he only hit about 20 balls. He felt better on Wednesday and Thursday, when he opened with a 66, but he still hasn't eaten very much.
Cabrera Bello couldn't keep breakfast down on Thursday but he stayed hydrated with amino vital which he said was "almost like having a lunch without having it." He did manage to eat before his round on Friday morning but the stomach issue is still bothering him.
Not that he's too worried. “Unfortunately my stomach is still no good, and we're going to stop talking about it," Cabrera Bello said with a smile.
Besides, there's a lot of good to talk about in the 28-year-old's game right now.
Cabrera Bello has made 11 birdies this week while dropping just two shots to par. He improved by one stroke in the second round despite hitting just four fairways on Friday and has managed 12 greens in regulation and 25 putts each day.
The Spaniard picked up his second win on the European Tour earlier this year at the Dubai Desert Classic. Among those he beat were world No. 4 Lee Westwood by a shot and world No. 3 Rory McIlroy by four – which was a quite a confidence boost at the time.
"It was obviously a great weekend that will always be in my memory,” Cabrera Bello said. “But I cannot be recalling it every time I play, although I do think that the big confidence I gained over there will last longer than just that week."
Cabrera Bello is a relative newcomer to the world stage. The Bridgestone Invitational is just his third World Golf Championships and next week's PGA Championship will mark his fourth start in a major. As such, he said there was no thought of withdrawing this week, and he’s grateful for the confidence he;s gaining.
"I didn't know what to expect because obviously really this is the first year I'm having a big change in my schedule playing major tournaments and playing the World Golf Championship events," Cabrera Bello said. "So they are very demanding, and you need to be playing good throughout the entire bag. It's not like you'll get away with missing some particular club or not putting good. Normally it's very challenging course, hard surface, fast greens, tight fairways, long rough. So I mean, they're really, really tough, tough holes.
"But on the other hand, they're ... pretty fair in the fact that if you play good, I do feel that you can score. Obviously scoring is going to be very difficult, but I mean, I think this course the way it's set up, it's rewarding good play."
The way his round started, K.J. Choi probably didn't expect to be tied for the lead after the morning wave of the 110th U.S. Open.
Choi bogeyed the first hole and then made a three-putt double on the second. He recovered extremely well, though, with birdies on Nos. 4, 6 and 9 to turn in even par.
Choi then added three more birdies in his first five holes on the back nine to move to 3 under and into sole possession of the lead. He bogeyed two of his last three, though, and is now tied with his playing partner, Mike Weir, and Ian Poulter and Rafael Cabrera-Bello.
"My body is very cold this morning," Choi said. "... I'm comfortable swinging after 4, 5, 6, more in the nature of my shot, and very strong finish today. Every day even par is a very good situation."
The round of 1 under tied for Choi's lowest ever in a U.S. Open. He shot 69s in the first rounds of the 2005 Open at Pinehurst and the '02 renewal at Bethpage Black. His best finish, a tie for 15th, came in 2005.
"So I'm so happy today," Choi said. "After two holes and then comfortable and I'm twice in three-putt. Uphill alternatives slow, but downhill I don't understand how far downhill, so I hit it twice in three-putt. But more practice downhill, tomorrow is more better."
Choi said he profited from his pairing on Thursday with Weir and Tim Clark, who finished with a 72.
"Mike is a good friend of mine, long time on the PGA TOUR, and Presidents Cup twice, and very, very nice man, play very well," Choi said. "His short game is great. “
Choi said the tee shots are extremely demanding at Pebble Beach.
"This course it looks like is wide open fairway, but in the teeing ground, hitting before in the mindset, in the right, in the left, either way is very tough in the bunker and tough in the rough," he said. "And it can't stop in the bouncing, so very scared on the tee shot."
We now have eight players tied for the lead at 1 under – three of whom, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Mike Weir and K.J. Choi, are done for the day.
Also in that group are Ian Poulter, who has two holes remaining; Jason Dufner, who has three; and Craig Barlow, who has four.
Poulter actually has an 18-footer for birdie at the 17th hole to take sole possession of the lead while Barlow has a 10-footer on the par-5 sixth to do the same.
The afternoon wave is starting to tee off now. Rocco Mediate, who lost the 2008 U.S. Open in a playoff to Tiger Woods, has just birdied his first hole while amateur Morgan Hoffman did the same at No. 2.
Rafael Cabrera-Bello has just posted the first sub-par score of the 110th U.S. Open.
The 26-year-old Spaniard shot a 1-under 70 and stands one stroke behind Mike Weir, who is teeing off on the 18th hole. Also at 1 under are K.J. Choi, who is playing with Weir; Ian Poulter, who has four holes remaining; David Toms, who is through 13 and Craig Barlow, who has six holes to play.
No one else is under par for the tournament right now. Luke Donald, Jim Furyk and Jason Dufner are the only ones at even.
Cabrera-Bello, who has one win on the European Tour, started playing golf when he was 6 on a course in the Canary Islands. His sister Emma competes on the Ladies European Tour. – Helen Ross