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Connor O'Leary Wins 2017 Rookie of the Year Award

After capturing the 2016 Qualification Series overall title last season, Connor O'Leary added another prestigious trophy to his mantle today -- the 2017 Championship Tour Rookie of the Year. By virtue of his 13th place result at the Billabong Pipe Masters and the Round Two exits of his two closest rivals, No. 13 Frederico Morais and No. 17 Joan Duru, the Australian snatched the hardware at the final Tour stop of the year.

Connor O'Leary (AUS) placed 1st in Heat 11 of Round One at Billabong Pipe Masters 2017 in Pipe  Oahu, Hawaii , USA Connor O'Leary WSL / Damien Poullenot

O'Leary kicked off his rookie campaign in spectacular form with a Quarterfinal result at the first Tour stop of the season -- the Quik Pro at Snapper Rocks. Well coached up by CT legend Luke Egan, he followed up with a string of 13ths leading up to his best result of the year -- a 2nd place finish to Matt Wilkinson in Fiji. Despite some rookie struggles during the back end of the schedule, he'll take confidence into the off season with the Rookie title under his belt.

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"Today was kind of tricky because I kind of felt bad because people need to lose to get it and stuff, which sucks but it went my way and I'm stoked," said O'Leary. "I am stoked take home the Rookie of the Year title and have a few beers with some friends when I go home. It was such a massive learning experience for me. For me it's a massive confidence thing to know and to keep telling myself I'm good enough to match it with the best. I'll take that confidence into next year and see how I go."

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