Italy’s Matteo Manassero has been named the Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year for 2010 following an amazing start to his professional career highlighted by him becoming the youngest player to win in the history of the European Tour.

Manassero won the Castello Masters at the age of 17 years and 188 days and finished 31st in the 2010 Race to Dubai.

“It is a big honour to win the Rookie of the Year award,” said

Manassero, who follows many of golf’s greatest names such as Sir Nick Faldo, Tony Jacklin, Sandy Lyle, José Maria Olazábal and Colin Montgomerie.

“It is such a special award because you only get one chance

to win it so it is a great honour.”

Other previous winners of the prestigious award include Sergio Garcia, Ian Poulter, Paul Casey and Europe’s new number one, Martin Kaymer.

Manassero is the first Italian to win the award which is judged by The R&A, the Association

of Golf Writers and the European Tour. He is also the tenth golfer from continental Europe and 46th recipient in total of the Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year Award which was launched in 1960.

The Italian fended off competition from Gary Boyd, James Morrison, John Parry and 25-year-old Welshman, Rhys Davies.

Golf Monthly’s editor at large and chairman of the Association of Golf Writers, added: “Rhys Davies’ record would normally have won the award easily but his younger Italian rival’s record is compelling.

“To achieve what he has after turning professional in May is astonishing. To do so while coming across as a polite, decent and intelligent teenager is reassuring for those of us who care about such things.

“If he matures as we all hope he will, then the European Tour has another genuine global star.”

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