Korean An gets European Tour rookie award

He became only the second rookie in history to win the BMW PGA Championship.  

AFP| Updated: Dec 04, 2015, 19:39 PM IST
Korean An gets European Tour rookie award

Byeong Hun An on Friday became the first Asian player to be named as the winner of the Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year Award by the European Tour.

The 24-year-old South Korean made an immediate impact in his first year at the top level, sealing a first European Tour title at one of its most prestigious events, the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth Club in May.

An carded a closing seven under par 65, to claim a six shot victory and break the record for the lowest winning score with a cumulative total of 21 under par 267.

In the process, the America-based Korean - more commonly known on Tour as Ben An - became only the second rookie in history to win the BMW PGA Championship.

An, who in 2009 became the youngest winner of the US Amateur Championship at the age of 17, went on to produce an impressive finish to the 2015 campaign - claiming top four finishes in three of the four Final Series events.

He took a seventh place finish in The 2015 Race to Dubai, five spots ahead of Englishman Matthew Fitzpatrick, who was also in the running to win the award given to the highest-ranked European Tour debutant.

Last year the award went to American Brooks Koepka.

"It`s a once-in-a-lifetime achievement," said An. "I worked very hard for this and played great last season. There were a lot of other good rookie players, so to win the award is very special.

"The race went down to the final day of the final event - even the last hole. It was so close and I had no idea who was going to get it.

"I`ve seen the other names who have won this award over the years and I`ve joined a list of great players. It`s great to be part of that history.

"I`m the first Asian to win it and hopefully it will help bring more Asian players to play on the European Tour."