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Jun 01, 2020 PRINT EDITION

Francesco Molinari was named the European Tour's Golfer of the Year for the first time on Monday, capping a stellar season in which he won the British Open to become the first Italian major champion.

The 36-year-old also won the PGA Championship at Wentworth, the Tour's flagship event, and claimed a maximum five points to help Europe beat the United States in the Ryder Cup.

"It is an award that means a lot to me and is a nice way to end a very special year," Molinari said in a statement.

"Winning at Wentworth, in one of our biggest events, gave me a lot of confidence for the summer, but obviously winning The Open at Carnoustie, becoming my country's first major champion, was incredible."

Molinari, who became the first European player to win five points out of five at the Ryder Cup in September, rounded off a remarkable year by clinching the Race to Dubai title.

"To go on to win the Race to Dubai and be part of that European Ryder Cup team in France was amazing," he added.

"I'll always look back on this season and be proud of what happened."

Copyright Reuters, 2018