Shubhankar Sharma crowned Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year
Dubai: India’s Shubhankar Sharma has won the Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year Award to top off a remarkable debut campaign on the European Tour.
The Indian started the season with a top ten at the UBS Hong Kong Open and two weeks later claimed his maiden European Tour victory at the Joburg Open in just his tenth start.
It only took him three more to win his second title as he carded a stunning closing 62 to lift the trophy at the Maybank Championship – joining Rookie of the Year predecessors Jon Rahm and Jeunghun Wang and former World Number One Luke Donald as the only players in the last 20 years to win twice in their first 20 events.
His stellar early-season form earned him a World Golf Championships debut at the WGC-Mexico Championship and a top ten at Chapultepec Golf Club helped him gain a special invitation to the Masters Tournament.
He reached 64th in the Official World Golf Ranking and led the Race to Dubai, securing a top ten on home soil at the Hero Indian Open and playing in all four of both the WGCs and the Major Championships.
That form meant that by November he entered the season-ending DP World Tour Championship, Dubai at 26th in the Rankings but he was not guaranteed the Rookie prize, with Sam Horsfield and Lucas Herbert still able to overtake him at Jumeirah Golf Estates.
He would not be denied in Dubai, however, finishing in a tie for 41st in the season finale and 28th on the final Race to Dubai Rankings presented by Rolex.
“You can only do it once in your career and I’m very happy with the season,” he said. “I’m very happy to be on the Tour here.
“I’m sure a lot of other great players before have won this award, I’m really happy that I was lucky enough to win it this year. I played well and won twice and had a few top tens, so very happy.
To win twice and just to learn so much on this Tour with the best players in the world, I would say I had a great year.”
Sharma joins an illustrious list of winners including Sir Nick Faldo, Sandy Lyle, José María Olazábal, Colin Montgomerie, Thomas Bjørn, Sergio Garcia, Ian Poulter, Martin Kaymer, Brooks Koepka and last year’s winner Rahm.
The 22 year old is also the third Asian winner of the Award in the last four seasons after Byeong-hun An and Wang in 2015 and 2016.