John Huh named PGA's top rookie

While relaxing at his home in Dallas on Tuesday morning, John Huh's cell phone began to ring.

His agent, Mike Creasy, called him to provide Huh news that initially caught the Crescenta Valley High graduate off guard — Huh was named PGA Tour Rookie of the Year.

"I was speechless for about two minutes, and it's such an honor to receive it," said Huh, who won one event and participated in the British Open and PGA Championship. "It's a once-in-a-lifetime award, and I really appreciate the PGA voting me as the top rookie.

"I'm very excited about it. I called my dad afterward to tell him."

Huh, 22, became the youngest player to qualify for the Tour Championship since Sergio Garcia accomplished the feat in 2001 at 21. Huh, who was born in New York and graduated from Crescenta Valley in 2008, became the first of Korean origin to be tabbed PGA Tour Rookie of the Year. Huh edged out Charlie Beljan, Jonas Blixt, Bud Cauley and Ted Potter, Jr. for the accolade, which was voted on by the tour's membership.

Huh, who helped Crescenta Valley win Pacific League championships in 2006 and 2007, was the lone rookie to qualify for the Tour Championship. He became only the fifth rookie to qualify for the Tour Championship since the inauguration of the FedExCup in 2007.

It turned out to be an impressive season for Huh, who spent 2011 going through qualifying school before earning his PGA card nearly a year ago in Palm Springs.

It didn't take long for Huh, who played briefly on the Korean Tour, to establish himself.

In February, Huh captured the Mayakoba Golf Classic, besting Robert Allenby in an eight-hole playoff at El Camaleon Golf Club in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico. Huh finished with an eight-under-par 65 on the final day to catch Allenby at 13-under 271 before parring all eight holes in the playoff to equal the second-longest playoff in PGA Tour history.

"That was the highlight of my season," said Huh, who finished tied for 27th — the number to qualify for a card — at the final stage of qualifying school and received exempt status after Mark Anderson and Roberto Castro already had earned their respective cards via the Nationwide Tour. "It was just my fifth event and I was able to win it."

For the season, Huh finished 29th in the FedExCup standings and was 28th on the final official money list at $2,692,113. Huh registered four top-10 finishes in 28 appearances, which included a tie for second at the Valero Texas Open.

Huh was one of three golfers to receive a berth into the British Open via a special exemption reserved for the top three and ties inside the top 20 in FedExCup points through the HP Byron Nelson Classic, which was held in May.

He registered a two-round score of 148 and missed the cut by five strokes at the British Open, which was held July 19-22 at Royal Lytham & St. Annes Golf Club in Lancashire, England.

Huh performed better at the 94th rendition of the PGA championship, which was held Aug. 9-12 at Kiawah Island Resort Ocean Course in Kiawah, S.C. He tied for 68th after making the cut and netted $15,100.

"Those were my first two majors that I had a chance to play and I was able to take a lot of positives from it," said Huh, who is eligible to participate in the Masters in April.

Huh said he's looking forward to 2013.

"It would be nice to get another win and I'm going to do my best," Huh said. "We are playing on the best courses with the best practice facilities."

Rory Mcllroy was named the tour's player of the year after notching four victories and 10 top-10 finishes. Mcllroy won the PGA Championship by eight strokes.

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