Lewis named European Tour rookie of the year

Updated: Dec 19, 2011, 21:53 PM IST

London: Briton Tom Lewis has been named the European Tour`s rookie of the year after the 20-year-old won on his third professional start at the Portugal Masters in October to secure a two-year tour exemption.

"I appreciate this honour very much. It certainly tops off what has been an amazing year," Lewis said in a statement on Monday.

Lewis shot a scintillating seven-under-par final-round 65 in Portugal to win by two shots from Spain`s Rafael Cabrera-Bello, having burst onto the scene in July at the British Open where he became the first amateur to lead the Open since 1968.

The Englishman hit a first-round 65 at Sandwich on his way to finishing as the leading amateur, then helped Britain and Ireland beat the United States in September`s Walker Cup before turning pro and recording a top-10 finish in his first start at the Austrian Open.

Lewis paid tribute to his father and coach, Brian, a former Tour professional, who has been an influential presence during his son`s rise through the amateur game into the professional ranks.

"I might not even have been a golfer if it wasn`t for dad, but he has definitely made me into the golfer I`ve become. He is really the person who made this possible."

When Lewis beat a high quality field to the title in Portugal he also eclipsed former world number one and 14-times major champion Tiger Woods, who needed five tournaments to land his first professional title.

Bureau Report