• Follows housemate Peter Uihlein in winning award
• Earned title by winning finishing eighth on Race To Dubai
BROOKS KOEPKA | EUROPEAN TOUR
Brooks Koepka has emulated his close friend Peter Uihlein by being named this year’s European Tour ‘Rookie of the Year’.
Koepka, 24, became the second consecutive American winner of the prize after finishing eighth on the Race to Dubai in his first full season on the tour. He got there in no small part by winning the Turkish Airlines Open and racking up four other top ten finishes.
He was voted as winner of the prestigious award ahead of Englishman Tyrell Hatton, whose finished in a tie for sixth in the DP World Tour Championship last weekend, meaning he ended a promising debut campaign ranked 36th on the Race to Dubai.
In winning the Rookie of the Year Award, Koepka succeeds compatriot Uihlein, his close friend and housemate, having two years ago taken the decision to follow him across the Atlantic in an attempt to rise up the professional ranks, first on the Challenge Tour and then on The European Tour.
"At least we get to keep it in the house." - Brooks Koepka
Following his breakthrough win on the Challenge Tour in 2012, Koepka claimed a trio of titles in 2013 – including the Scottish Hydro Challenge – to earn automatic promotion to the European Tour, joining Uihlein who had secured his own status among Europe’s elite by winning the 2013 Madeira Islands Open.
Koepka recorded two top finishes on the European Tour in 2013 and finished the year in 113th position on the Race to Dubai, after becoming eligible for the final stretch of the season because of his hat-trick of wins on the Challenge Tour.
That extra experience certainly served him well in his first full season on the tour, when he showed early promise with a share of third place in the Omega Dubai Desert Classic before impressing in the majors on home soil, finishing tied fourth in the US Open, below, and tied 15th in the PGA Championship.
He followed that with a share of third place in the Omega European Masters in Switzerland and a tied-ninth finish in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, That was before he held off Ryder Cup star Ian Poulter in Turkey for a maiden European Tour title.
“Winning the Rookie of the Year means so much,” said Koepka. “I've worked so hard this year, and to see the results is fun. To cap the year off with a win in Turkey has made this year special. It's a goal I've been working for since I was able to come out on tour and that was the goal starting the year.
“Looking back where I was two years ago, and then where I am today, is special. So to win Turkey and win ‘Rookie of the Year’ is amazing.
“Brooks Koepka has enjoyed a magnificent first full season on the European Tour." - George O'Grady
“Coming over, having nowhere to play and getting a win on The Challenge Tour, and then getting the promotion, was unbelievable. And now to win on The European Tour is special, and to win ‘Rookie of the Year’, you look at all the names, guys who have won it, especially last year; Pete Uihlein, so at least we can keep it in the house.”
George O’Grady, chief executive of the European Tour, said: “Brooks has enjoyed a magnificent first full season on the European Tour, winning one of our Final Series events at the Turkish Airlines Open, recording a top five finish in a major championship, and finishing inside the top ten on the Race to Dubai.
“That would be a very good season for any player but to do it in your first full season on the European Tour is even more impressive. The story of first Peter Uihlein winning the ‘Rookie of the Year’ award and now his close friend Brooks is quite a remarkable one and it underlines the global appeal the European Tour has.”
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