The 24-year-old won the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth in May.

Byeong-Hun An named Rookie of the Year

Byeong-Hun An has been named the Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year following a season in which he won once on the European Tour and claimed seven top 10s.

The South Korean – who is known as Ben – won his first European Tour title at the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth in May. He finished with a total of 267, six shots clear of Thongchai Jaidee and Miguel Angel Jimenez.

Of his seven top 10s this year, An claimed three of them in the European Tour’s season-ending Final Series. He finished no lower than T4 as he made an outside attempt to take the Race to Dubai title from Rory McIlroy.

An said: “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime achievement. There were a lot of other good rookies, 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.”

Matt Fitzpatrick and Anirban Lahiri were also up for the award, with the former winning the British Masters at Woburn in October. Lahiri won at the Hero Indian Open and the Malaysian Maybank Open in February.

WATCH: Matt Fitzpatrick discusses life on tour

 

Previous winners of the Rookie of the Year award include Sandy Lyle, Sir Nick Faldo, Sergio Garcia and Ian Poulter.

An also becomes the first Korean to win the award and expressed his hope that it will inspire more Asian success on the European Tour.

“A lot of guys ask me if the European Tour is good to play on and I always say 100 per cent yes. Hopefully I will lead the way for many more.”

An’s strong year has also earned him the Challenge Tour Graduate of the Year award. Alain de Soultrait, Director of the European Challenge Tour, said: “Ben spent three years honing his game and building his confidence on the European Challenge Tour, and it was always clear to anyone who observed him play that he was destined for great things in the game.”

This year An has earned €2, 211, 642, a record for a European Tour rookie.

Before this year, An was perhaps best known for becoming the youngest winner of the US Amateur Championship at the age of 17 in 2009.