Matteo Manassero wins rookie prize after record-breaking first year on European Tour

By Sportsmail Reporter

Italy's Matteo Manassero has been named the European Tour's rookie of the year following a record-breaking start to his professional career.

Manassero joined the paid ranks in May after a superb amateur career and became the youngest winner in European Tour history in October with victory in the Castello Masters at the age of 17 years and 188 days.

The teenager, who went on to finish 31st in the Race to Dubai, joins the likes of Nick Faldo, Sergio Garcia, Ian Poulter, Paul Casey and Martin Kaymer in winning the Sir Henry Cotton award.

Great expectations: Youngster Manassero is tipped to have a bright future

Great expectations: Youngster Manassero is tipped to have a bright future

'It is a big honour to win the rookie of the year award,' Manassero said. 'I never expected to win on tour so quickly and to win the rookie of the year award is a perfect way to end my first season as a professional.

'It is such a special award because you only get one chance to win it, so it is a great honour.

'When you see the amazing players that have won the award in the past, you see how important these players were in golf's history and to have your name beside them is exciting.

'Then you see that Martin Kaymer won the rookie of the year only three years ago and now he is the number one in Europe after winning the Race to Dubai. I hope I can follow in Martin's footsteps one day.'

Manassero became the youngest winner of the Amateur Championship in 2009 and the youngest player to claim the silver medal for leading amateur in The Open Championship the same year when he finished tied 13th at Turnberry.

In April he also became the youngest amateur to compete in the Masters and the youngest player to make the halfway cut. 

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