Italy's Matteo Manassero has been named the European Tour's Rookie of the Year after a record-breaking start to his professional career.
Manassero joined the paid ranks in May after a superb amateur career and became the youngest winner in European Tour history in October with his victory in the Castello Masters at the age of 17 years and 188 days.
Matteo Manassero earned his first European Tour victory at the age of 17.
The teenager, who went on to finish 31st in the seasonlong Race to Dubai with $1.17 million in earnings, joins the likes of Nick Faldo, Sergio Garcia, Ian Poulter, Paul Casey and Martin Kaymer in winning the Sir Henry Cotton award.
"It is a big honor to win the rookie of the year award," Manassero said. "I never expected to win on tour so quickly and to win the rookie of the year award is a perfect way to end my first season as a professional. It is such a special award because you only get one chance to win it, so it is a great honor.
"When you see the amazing players that have won the award in the past, you see how important these players were in golf's history, and to have your name beside them is exciting,” he added. "Then you see that Martin Kaymer won the rookie of the year only three years ago and now he is the No. 1 in Europe after winning the Race to Dubai. I hope I can follow in Martin's footsteps one day."
Manassero became the youngest winner of the British Amateur in 2009 and the youngest player to claim the silver medal for leading amateur in the British Open the same year when he finished tied 13th at Turnberry.
In April, he also became the youngest amateur to compete in the Masters and the youngest player to make the halfway cut.