Uihlein Becomes First American to Win European Tour's Rookie of the Year Honors

Peter Uihlein's decision to forgo Q-School in the U.S. and play full-time in Europe has paid off. On Monday, the 24-year-old from New Bedford, Mass., was named the European Tour's Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year, the first American to receive the award.

The former Oklahoma State All-American, Walker Cup player and 2010 U.S. Amateur champion won once this year - the Madiera Islands Open, recorded two runner-ups, and had eight top-10 finishes.

Currently ranked 64th in the world, Uihlein ended his season on the Continent 14th in the 2013 Race to Dubai, ending up in 51st place at Jumeirah Golf Estates in the European Tour's season-ending DP World Tour Championship, Dubai, on Sunday.

He nearly set a new all-time European Tour scoring record of 59 during the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship at Kingsbarns in September, just missing an eagle putt on the last for a 60. He lost that tournament in a sudden-death playoff to England's David Howell.

"It's an honor to win the Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year award," said Uihlein. "I wasn't expecting it, but it's been a great year and I'm very pleased. I think I'm the first non-European to win it, so that's a great honor. Any time you're the first of anything, it's neat."

He added, "The win in Madeira was great and I had a lot of top-10s. I played well all week in Madeira and handled myself well in the wind, and it was nice to get the job done. The win opened a few doors for me and I was able to play at Wentworth [in the BMW PGA Championship] the following week.

"I was supposed to start the year on the Challenge Tour, but instead I was 11th in the Race to Dubai heading into the final event, so it wasn't what I'd planned on but, obviously, it's fantastic the way it has worked out."

Uihlein is the 49th recipient of the Sir Henry Cotton award. Among others who have earned top rookie honors are Sir Nick Faldo (1977), José María Olazábal (1986), Colin Montgomerie (1988), Sergio Garcia (1999), Ian Poulter (2000) and Martin Kaymer (2007).