Thitikul Is Right On Target!
If you’ve not heard the name Atthaya Thitikul (pictured), you better start bucking up on this kid’s background.
Thitikul is just 18-years old and as you may have already gathered, comes from the Kingdom of Thailand.
With the year fast approaching to an end, Thitikul is well on her way to claim glory as a world star on the Ladies European Tour. With three more tournaments to go on the Ladies European Tour, Thitikul ranks number one in the Order of Merit, number one in the Rookie Of The Year standing and number three on the Money List. All this while still a teenager!
The bubbly teenager signalled her imminent arrival on the world stage back in 2017 with her victory at the Ladies European Thailand Championship. She had already appeared, 3 days after her 14th birthday, in the Honda LPGA Thailand on the LPGA Tour, where she finished 37th out of the 66 competitors. She had earned her place in the field when she finished runner-up in the Thailand Amateur Open the previous August when she was just 13 years and 6 months old.
Also in 2017, she won the Ladies European Thailand Championship becoming the youngest person ever to win a professional golf tour event at age 14 years 4 months and 19 days old. The previous record belonged to Canadian Brooke Henderson who won the 2012 Canadian Women’s Tour aged 14 years, 9 months, and 3 days. Her amateur status meant that she could not claim the 1st prize of 45,000 euros for winning but it did get her an entry into both the Women’s British Open and The Evian Championship in France.
In 2018 Thitikul, just turned 15, she competed in the Women’s Amateur Asia-Pacific Championship in Singapore where she went on to win the title. Her victory earned her a place in the HSBC Women’s Champions on the same course, plus entries into the ANA Inspiration at Mission Hills, California and for a place in the British Open, for a second year running.
At the HSBC event, she finished in eighth place. At the Woman’s British Open, she was the low amateur, and the only one to make the cut. In the same year, she broke the course record at the World Junior Girls Championship in Ottawa, with a score of 12-under-par 60 in the final round to win by 2 strokes. At the 2018 Summer Youth Olympics, Thitikul teamed up to win the mixed team gold medal.
On 24 June, Thitikul won the Ladies European Thailand Championship for the second time in three years. Following her win, Thitikul was ranked 1st in the world on the women’s World Amateur Golf Ranking on 26 June and then again from October 2019 until January 2020 before turning professional.
In 2020 Thitikul turned professional and finished the season with 5 Thai LPGA wins and was on the top of the money list on the Thai LPGA Tour.
In May 2021, Thitikul received a sponsor’s exemption to play in the Honda LPGA Thailand on the LPGA Tour, in which she finished second, one stroke behind former world number one Ariya Jutanugarn. Later, she began playing on the Ladies European Tour.
On 27 June, Thitikul claimed her third Ladies European Tour title, her first as a professional, at the Tipsport Czech Ladies Open. This win made her eligible to play in European major tournaments, the Evian Championship and the British Open in 2021. On 12 July, she moved into the top 100 on the Women’s World Golf Rankings for the first time with a rank of 89, after finishing second at the Aramco Team Series – London.
On 25 July, Thitikul recorded her best-ever finish at a major championship with fifth place at the 2021 Evian Championship, having a score of 14-under par 270, and boosting her world ranking to its highest ever position of 61st place. On 15 August, she achieved her seventh consecutive top-five place on a Ladies European Tour event by finishing tied for second in the Trust Golf Women’s Scottish Open at Dumbarnie Links. Following the event, her world golf ranking moved to 35th place.
As of 29 August, she recorded ten top-10 finishes in 12 events during 2021 on both the LPGA Tour and Ladies European Tour.
Don’t be surprised if Thitikul does not make it to the lofty position of World Number One in the not-too-distant future.