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."