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Atthaya Thitikul reaches world number one


Two-time Smyth Salver winner's rise

Atthaya Thitikul thanks the crowd after a putt

Atthaya Thitikul is no stranger to breaking records, particularly after her ascent to the world number one ranking in her rookie season on the LPGA Tour.

At just 19 years of age, Thitikul is the second youngest player to ever reach the world number one spot, after only Lydia Ko, who was 17 when she reached the summit of the game in 2015.

Thitikul, who became the youngest player to ever win a professional golfing event in 2017, aged just 14, has been touted for the top since a very young age, and shares more than a few similarities with Ko in how she got there.

The Thai star took up the game at the age of six, when her father suggested she play either tennis or golf. It’s fair to say in picking golf, Thtitikul made the right decision.

After her record-breaking triumph in 2017 at the Ladies European Thailand Championship, doors opened for Thitikul, including earning a spot in the 2017 Women’s British Open.

Although she missed the cut, Thitikul qualified shortly after for the Championship again the following year by winning the inaugural Women’s Amateur Asia-Pacific in early 2018.

At Royal Lytham & St Annes in 2018, Thitikul once again proved her immense talent by taking home the Smyth Salver for low amateur as Georgia Hall claimed the title.

A second victory in the Ladies European Thailand Championship in 2019 then helped Thitikul qualify for the AIG Women’s Open for a third straight year as an amateur.

Atthaya Thitikul with the Smyth Salver

Atthaya Thitikul after winning her second Smyth Salver in 2019

There she claimed her second consecutive Smyth Salver at Woburn, matching Ko’s achievement in 2012 and 2013. Remarkably, the Thai and the New Zealander were the same age when they claimed their low amateur honours, at just 15 and 16-years-old.

The pair are the only players to win two Smyth Salvers in the AIG Women’s Open since the early 1980s, when Marta Figueras-Dotti and Belle Robertson both achieved the feat from 1980-1982.

Thitikul’s incredible rise continued after turning professional in 2020, and she has added four victories since then, including two on the LPGA Tour this year in her rookie campaign, culminating in her rise to world number one.

Ko, who herself won her most recent event at the BMW Ladies Championship and sits at world number three, said of Thitikul:

“The golf that Atthaya has been playing has been absolutely amazing. Having been in that position I think it’s such a cool experience and it seems like she’s handling all the media pressure really well. That just shows what kind of a world class player she is.”

Now at the top of the game, Thitikul will be hoping to emulate Ko once more in winning her first major championship after reaching world number one.