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ASB MAGAZINE: After capturing the 2016 Qualification Series overall title last season, Connor O’Leary added another prestigious trophy to his mantle- 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 Cronulla local snatched the hardware at the final Tour stop of the year.

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.

This Australian rookie has been one of the biggest surprises this season…but he shouldn’t be.

“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.”

Check out : Out of Somewhere: The Connor O’Leary Profile