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The Japanese won the French Open and secured the PGA Tour card for 2024

Hisatsune, first Japanese to win the DP World Tour Rookie of the Year

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Ryo .Hisatsune
Ryo Hisatsune.

Ryo Hisatsune has become the first Japanese to win the Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year Award after a memorable first season on the DP World Tour. The 21-year-old won the French Open and achieved seven other top ten results, finishing his debut campaign in 17th position in the Race to Dubai.

Hisatsune earned his playing privileges by finishing seventh in the final stage of the School in November 2022 and began his journey on the DP World Tour sharing second place in the Fortinet Australian PGA Championship that opened the course.

He achieved consecutive top tens in the Hero Indian Open and the Magical Kenya Open at the beginning of 2023, but the highlight undoubtedly came in September, when he became the first Japanese player to win in continental Europe in over 40 years with a major title at the French Open at Le Golf National. His two-stroke victory, thanks to a final round of 66 that included five birdies in the last nine holes, also placed him in the top 100 in the World Golf Ranking for the first time.

Hisatsune’s other top ten finishes came at the Soudal Open, Made in HimmerLand, Barracuda Championship and the Nedbank Golf Challenge, before ending the season sharing the 18th position in the DP World Tour Championship. These performances helped him finish 2023 in 17th position in the final ranking of the Race to Dubai, while securing dual membership in the PGA Tour for 2024, taking the tenth and last available card.

The 81st in the world ranking was chosen Rookie of the Year by a panel composed of three members of the DP World Tour Tournament Committee and three European Circuit executives, beating a strong list of contenders for the prestigious award. That list included Swedish Ludvig Aberg, who won the Omega European Masters, recorded two other top tens and made his debut in the Ryder Cup just three months after turning professional, and South Korean star Tom Kim, second in The Open, as well as English pair Dan Bradbury and Dan Brown, New Zealander Daniel Hillier and Northern Irishman Tom McKibbin, all winners on the DP World Tour in 2023 and qualified for the Dubai Final.

“I am very happy, it’s a big surprise,” said Hisatsune. “This season has been a great experience on the DP World Tour, it has been very exciting. Winning the French Open was amazing for me. I have been working very hard and it was such a good result. I felt very happy and very honoured to become a Japanese winner on the DP World Tour. Three years ago, I lost my card at the School in Japan, so I moved to the second division of my country, won three times and got a card from the Japan Tour. I finally got a DP World Tour card last year and now I also have the PGA Tour one. I am excited and very happy,” he said.

Keith Pelley, CEO of the DP World Tour, said: “I would like to congratulate Ryo for being named Rookie of the Year after an impressive first season on the DP World Tour. Ryo is part of a strong contingent of Japanese players who come and play on a global schedule on the DP World Tour and joins an illustrious list of winners of this prestigious award,” he stressed.

With this award, five Spaniards were distinguished: José María Olazábal, Sergio García, Gonzalo Fernández Castaño, Pablo Larrazábal and Jon Rahm.

Complete list of winners of the DP World Tour Rookie of the Year Award:

1960 Tommy Goodwin (England)

1961 Alex Caygill (England)

1963 Tony Jacklin (England)

1966 Robin Liddle (Scotland)

1968 Bernard Gallacher (Scotland)

1969 Peter Oosterhuis (England)

1970 Stuart Brown (England)

1971 David Llewellyn (Wales)

1972 Sam Torrance (Scotland)

1973 Philip Elson (England)

1974 Carl Mason (England)

1976 Mark James (England)

1977 Sir Nick Faldo (England)

1978 Sandy Lyle (Scotland)

1979 Mike Miller (Scotland)

1980 Paul Hoad (England)

1981 Jeremy Bennett (England)

1982 Gordon Brand Jnr. (Scotland)

1983 Grant Turner (England)

1984 Philip Parkin (Wales)

1985 Paul Thomas (Wales)

1986 José María Olazábal (Spain)

1987 Peter Baker (England)

1988 Colin Montgomerie (Scotland)

1989 Paul Broadhurst (England)

1990 Russell Claydon (England)

1991 Per-Ulrik Johansson (Sweden)

1992 Jim Payne (England)

1993 Gary Orr (Scotland)

1994 Jonathan Lomas (England)

1995 Jarmo Sandelin (Sweden)

1996 Thomas Björn (Denmark)

1997 Scott Henderson (Scotland)

1998 Olivier Edmond (France)

1999 Sergio Garcia (Spain)

2000 Ian Poulter (England)

2001 Paul Casey (England)

2002 Nick Dougherty (England)

2003 Peter Lawrie (Ireland)

2004 Scott Drummond (Scotland)

2005 Gonzalo Fernández-Castaño (Spain)

2006 Marc Warren (Scotland)

2007 Martin Kaymer (Germany)

2008 Pablo Larrazábal (Spain)

2009 Chris Wood (England)

2010 Matteo Manassero (Italy)

2011 Tom Lewis (England)

2012 Ricardo Santos (Portugal)

2013 Peter Uihlein (United States)

2014 Brooks Koepka (United States)

2015 Byeong Hun An (South Korea)

2016 Jeunghun Wang (South Korea)

2017 Jon Rahm (Spain)

2018 Shubhankar Sharma (India)

2019 Robert MacIntyre (Scotland)

2020 Sami Välimäki (Finland)

2021 Matti Schmid (Germany)

2022 Thriston Lawrence (South Africa)

2023 Ryo Hisatsune (Japan)