BRITISH INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL, PHUKET
BRITISH INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL, PHUKET
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Atthaya secures Ladies European Tour’s No.1, rookie titles

Atthaya secures Ladies European Tour’s No.1, rookie titles

GOLF: Thailand’s Atthaya Thitikul says she feels great to claim the Ladies European Tour’s (LET) No.1 spot for 2021.

Golf
By Bangkok Post

Wednesday 17 November 2021, 02:15PM


The Ratchaburi native becomes the youngest winner of the accolade surpassing Charley Hull’s previous record. Photo: Bangkok Post

The Ratchaburi native becomes the youngest winner of the accolade surpassing Charley Hull’s previous record. Photo: Bangkok Post

The teenager clinched the 2021 Race to Costa del Sol title thanks to her second-place finish at the Saudi Ladies International earlier this month, reports the Bangkok Post.

In her first full season on the LET, the 18-year-old has been consistent throughout 2021 managing to secure the title with two events remaining in the LET calendar.

The Ratchaburi native becomes the youngest winner of the accolade surpassing Charley Hull’s previous record.

Atthaya has played 16 events and earned 3,361.96 points, ahead of Slovakia’s Pia Babnik, who has 1,909.89 points from 17 tournaments.

The season-ending Andalucia Costa del Sol Open De Espana will take place next week.

The Thai has only finished outside the top 10 on three occasions in individual events in 2021 and has added two further LET titles this year winning the Czech Ladies Open in June and Swiss Ladies Open in September.

“It is an honour to win the Race to Costa del Sol this year,” Atthaya said.

“Words can’t describe how I’m feeling. It is really great to win the title and it is amazing for me!”

She has also won the Rookie of the Year title, which is awarded to the golfer based on her position in the Race to Costa del Sol.

Atthaya, who holds the record as the youngest winner on the LET at 14 years, four months and 19 days, also follows in the footsteps of Laura Davies, Carlota Ciganda and Esther Henseleit by winning both the Race to Costa del Sol and Rookie of the Year titles in the same season.

The four-time LET winner, who has risen from No.308 to No.24 in the world rankings, is also the first player from her homeland and third from Asia to win the season-long Race to Costa del Sol.

“Last year, I stayed at home due to the [COVID-19] pandemic, and I didn’t play on tour after February. I practised at home and worked really hard, and I think it has paid off this year. To have won the title in my rookie year as well is great,” she said.

“It is the first year that I have been away from home for three or four months. It has been tough, but it has been an experience I can learn from. I have travelled without my parents - usually my dad travels with me - but I have been here with my manager and my caddie. I feel really grateful to be out here and competing in international tournaments.”

Impressive run

After finishing second at the LPGA Thailand in May, Atthaya returned to the LET in June finishing tied for sixth at the Jabra Ladies Open and followed that with T65 at the Scandinavian Mixed before winning her first title of 2021 in the Czech Republic.

From then, the rising star had a phenomenal run of form with six results in the top five including fifth place at the Evian Championship.

A T48 finish at the Women’s British Open was Atthaya’s only second result outside the top 10 and after that she finished T6 at the Didriksons Skafto Open and in third place at the Creekhouse Ladies Open.

She rounded off the summer in Switzerland, where she clinched her second title of the year, and went back home to Thailand on a high.

After some time off, the 18-year-old returned refreshed at the Dubai Moonlight Classic finishing in 14th place before her runner-up finish in Saudi Arabia gave her an unassailable lead in the rankings.

“I don’t think about how many victories I have. I just try to improve my game and focus on that because you can’t win every week. Getting better every single day is what I am trying to do,” said Atthaya.

“I know all the Thai fans back home have been really cheering me on and I’m the only player from Thailand to solely play on the LET [on a regular basis]. It’s great to have them cheering me on and supporting me whatever happens.”

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