Caddie-turned-pro C Muniyappa was named the Asian Tour Rookie of the Year following his inspiration triumph in the Indian Open earlier this year.
The Bangalore pro with a humble background was the lone Indian in Asian Tour's annual roll of honour in which Thai star Thongchai Jaidee, winner of an unprecedented third Order of Merit crown, has been voted by his peers as the 2009 Asian Tour Players' Player of the Year.
The unheralded Muniyappa, whose classic rags-to-riches tale inspired many when he won the Indian Open, took home a deserving Rookie of the Year title after the 32-year-old wrapped up his season in 10th place on the Order of Merit with $223,269 through one win and three other top-25.
Hailing Muniyappa's ascent, Asian Tour Executive Chairman Kyi Hla Han said, "We are extremely proud of the rise of Muniyappa, whose humble background will serve as an inspiration to many players in India and across Asia to shoot for the stars."
The last Indian to win the Asian Tour Rookie of the Year was Shiv Kapur in 2005.
Muniyappa started caddying at the Karnataka Golf Association when he was just seven-year-old and turned pro in 1997. Inconsistency plagued Muniyappa early in his career but after tasting his first professional win in the Toyota Altis Open in 2008, he was a different golfer and his biggest dream now is to play with idol Tiger Woods.
Asian Tour roll of honour
Order of Merit: Thongchai Jaidee (Thailand)
Players' Player of the Year: Thongchai Jaidee (Thailand)
Rookie of the Year: C. Muniyappa (India)
Lowest Stroke Average: Thongchai Jaidee (Thailand)
Driving Distance: Scott Hend (Australia)
Fairways in Regulation: Lee Sung (Korea)
Greens in Regulation: Jbe Kruger (South Africa)
Lowest Putting Average: Thammanoon Srirot (Thailand)
Birdie Leader: Thaworn Wiratchant (Thailand).