European number one Lee Westwood has won the prestigious Golf Writers’ Trophy for a third time, joining the legendary Seve Ballesteros as the only three-time recipients.

Catriona Matthew, who won the Ricoh Women’s British Open only 11 weeks after giving birth was the clear runner-up in the annual poll, with Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy in third, and Sweden’s Anna Nordqvist taking fourth.

A strong Italian contingent also fared well in the poll. Matteo Manassero, who at 16 became the youngest ever winner of the Amateur Championship, came fifth in the voting, alongside compatriots Francesco and Edoardo Molinari, who brought home the World Cup for Italy for the first time.

Westwood, who also claimed the Golf Writers’ Trophy in 1998 and 2000, said: “I am delighted to receive the award once again.

“It is a particular honour to have been chosen for the third time and to become one of only two players, alongside Seve, to have won it three times.”

The Worksop golfer, who will be presented the trophy at the Association’s annual dinner prior to the Open Championship at St Andrews in July, also added: “It will be good to pick up the trophy on the week of the Open.

“Hopefully that will be a good omen, especially as it is at the home of golf.”

Lewine Mair, chairman of the Association of Golf Writers, said: “The breadth of accomplishment represented in this poll is remarkable, and shows that European golf is blessed with a wealth of talent.”

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