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Uihlein wins European Tour Rookie of the Year

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Peter Uihlein on Monday became the first American to win the European Tour’s Rookie of the Year award.

The former U.S. Amateur champion won the Madeira Islands Open, had two runner-up finishes, earned €1,360,268 ($1,839,762) and was No. 14 in the season-long Race to Dubai.

“It’s an honor to win the Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year award,” he said. “I wasn’t expecting it, but it’s been a great year and I’m very pleased. Any time you’re the first of anything, it’s neat.”

Other winners of the award include Sergio Garcia (1999), Ian Poulter (2000), Martin Kaymer (2007) and Matteo Manassero (2010).

A former Oklahoma State standout, Uihlein struggled after turning pro in December 2011. After spending a season on the European Challenge Tour, the 24-year-old locked up his European Tour card by winning the Madeira Islands Open in May. 

He followed that breakthrough with runner-up finishes at both the Wales Open and Alfred Dunhill Links Championship. He was T-5 at the BMW Masters, the first event in the Euro Tour’s Final Series, but did not finish in the top 50 in his next three tournaments. 

After his award-winning season, Uihlein is now ranked 64th in the world. He ended last year at No. 384.

Following the path blazed by Uihlein and Brooks Koepka, his South Florida-based roommate, more Americans than ever before (83) tried their luck this year at European Tour Q-School. Four U.S. players were among the 27 who received their cards for the 2014 season.