European Tour chief Pelley praises top rookie Byeong Hun An
December 19, 2015, 9:03 am    

European Tour chief executive Keith Pelley hails Byeong Hun An for winning this year`s Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year award.

The 24-year-old ended the season seventh in the Race to Dubai standings, with the highlight coming at Wentworth in May when he won the European Tour`s flagship event - the BMW PGA Championship.

And Pelley was quick to offer his congratulations to An, saying: "I would like to congratulate Ben [Byeong Hun An] on a remarkable season which is given a fitting ending with the confirmation of him as rookie of the Year.

"The award itself has an illustrious history and includes amongst its winners major champions Tony Jacklin, Sir Nick Faldo, Sandy Lyle, Jose Maria Olazabal and Martin Kaymer, alongside eight-time European Tour No 1 Colin Montgomerie.

"I have no doubt that Ben will follow in their footsteps and forge a great career in the game."

In all, An posted 15 top-25 finishes from 26 starts and the player himself admitted: "It`s a once-in-a-lifetime achievement.

"I worked very hard for this. 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."

His nearest challenger was Matt Fitzpatrick who finished five places below An in the Race to Dubai standings.

Fitzpatrick, who similar to An is a former US Amateur Championship winner, posted more top-three finishes than anyone else on Tour and won the British Masters supported by Sky Sports at Woburn in October.

The young Englishman expressed his disappointment on Twitter as he wrote: "Obviously gutted I didn`t win Rookie Of The Year thought I`d done enough in the events I played but hats off to Ben."


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