English youngster Chris Wood has capped a tremendous debut season on the European Tour in style by being named the Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year.
Wood, who turns 22 on Thursday, ended the season 44th in the Race to Dubai standings, with earnings of €679,559, securing the title ahead of fellow debutants such as Northern Ireland’s Gareth Maybin (53rd), England’s Danny Willett (58th), Sweden’s Oskar Henningsson (68th) and compatriot David Horsey (76th).
It was effectively Wood’s remarkable performance in The Open that sealed the award, which is judged by the R&A, the Association of Golf Writers and the European Tour. A year after finishing tied fifth as an amateur at Royal Birkdale, Wood missed out on a play-off by one shot at Turnberry, leaving him in a tie for third.
His performance in Scotland was one of five top-ten finishes for the man from Bristol, who joins the likes of Tony Jacklin, Sir Nick Faldo, Colin Montgomerie and Sergio Garcia in winning the award.
“It is brilliant to win this award,” said Wood. “I’ve had my eyes on winning the rookie crown all season, because it’s something you only ever get one chance to win. Looking at the list of names that have won this title makes me appreciate that I am in good company.”