Open star Tom Lewis wins rookie prize

Tom Lewis
Lewis amassed £385,000 in European Tour prize money this year

Open silver medal winner Tom Lewis has been crowned European Tour rookie of the year after a memorable 12 months.

The 20-year-old from Welwyn Garden City carded the .

And he went on to before .

"I appreciate this honour very much. It certainly tops off what has been an amazing year," he said.

Lewis, who is based at the same club as six-time Major winner and another one-time rookie of the year Sir Nick Faldo, rose to prominence with his opening round of 65 at the 2011 Open Championship in July, making the early running at Royal St George's.

In September he helped Britain & Ireland to Walker Cup victory over the USA for the first time since 2003 and promptly announced he would be joining the professional ranks.

He went on to secure his maiden title in only his third professional competition by , the quickest victory in European Tour history.

And he has paid tribute to the influence of his father Brian, himself a former Tour player.

"I think my dad is more excited about me winning this award than my first Tour victory in October," he said.

"I might not even have been a golfer if it wasn't for dad, but he has definitely made me into the golfer I've become. He is really the person who made this possible.

"It was wonderful to win the Open silver medal and shoot 65 in the first round, but I think people will remember the 65 in Portugal because it secured my first professional win.

"It was a great year and a privilege to be part of the winning Walker Cup team in my final amateur event.

"But now I have a two-year exemption on the European Tour and can't wait to get started in 2012."

Lewis beat Denmark's Thorbjorn Olesen and Scott Jamieson of Scotland to the award, which was judged by panelists from golf's governing body the R&A, the European Tour and the Association of Golf Writers.

Meanwhile, Sweden's Caroline Hedwall has been named as rookie of the year on the Ladies' European Tour.

The 22-year-old won four times on the tour in 2011, amassing total prize money of £233,000, and was part of the victorious European Solheim Cup team that beat the United States in September.

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