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Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano named Rookie of the Year

Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano of Spain has been named the European Tour's rookie of the year after winning The Dutch Open.

The 25-year-old from Madrid became the third Spaniard to receive the accolade since its inception in 1960, following Jose Maria Olazabal in 1986 and Sergio Garcia in 1999.

It took him just nine events before making an impact after turning professional in September 2004 with tied sixth place in the Italian Open.

However, it was his two-shot victory at the Hilversumsche Golf Club, on only his 13th start in 2005, which earned him the Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year award.

He eventually finished 57th on the order of merit with 423,945 euros ($501,100).

"I am very surprised to win as my one and only objective at the start of the year was to keep my card," he said in a statement.

"But winning The KLM Open was a big moment in my first season on The European Tour. I now have a two-year exemption which is important in helping me plan my schedule.

"Even more important is that I continue to work hard and improve so that I can try to reach the same level as Seve, Jose Maria and Sergio."

November 8, 2005

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