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Atthaya targets win at Women’s British Open

Atthaya targets win at Women’s British Open

GOLF: Thai teenage sensation Atthaya Thitikul wants to follow in the footsteps of compatriot Ariya Jutanugarn by winning the Women’s British Open.

Golf
By AFP

Wednesday 27 July 2022, 10:02AM


Thailand’s Atthaya Thitikul plays a shot during the final round of the Evian Championship on Sunday (July 24). Photo: LET Tristan Jones / Bangkok Post

Thailand’s Atthaya Thitikul plays a shot during the final round of the Evian Championship on Sunday (July 24). Photo: LET Tristan Jones / Bangkok Post

The final major of the year will be held at Muirfield in Scotland from Aug 4-7.

Atthaya, who was the low amateur at the event twice at the championship in 2018 and 2019, will try to win the tournament as a professional.

The 19-year-old’s rise through the professional rankings continues an exemplary amateur career which saw her make headlines in 2017 as the youngest player ever to win a professional golf tournament aged 14 years, four months and 19 days.

She subsequently reached No.1 in the World Amateur Golf Rankings.

In her rookie season on the LPGA Tour this year, she has already won her breakthrough title and is now Thailand’s highest-ranked player at No.5.

The Ratchaburi native credits the Jutanugarn sisters, Moriya and Ariya, the 2016 Women’s British Open champion, as inspiration during her prolific adolescence.

“They [Ariya and Moriya] were already established on the LPGA Tour when I was taking up the sport and when Ariya won the AIG Women’s Open [Women’s British Open] that was a huge moment because it showed that it’s possible for a girl like me to reach the pinnacle of the sport,” she said in a press release issued by the R&A which organises the AIG Women’s Open.

Nicknamed “Jeen,” Atthaya finished joint eighth at the Evian Championship on Sunday (July 24), along with major winners Georgia Hall, Ko Jin-Young, Nelly Korda, Kim Sei-Young and Ryu So-Yeon, and Linn Grant.

They were four shots behind winner Brooke Henderson.

Fastship Phuket

Atthaya was fourth at the 2022 Women’s PGA Championship.

The Women’s British Open will welcome the world’s best female golfers where a cast of past and potential champions will grace the fairways.

Anna Nordqvist, the defending champion, is one of the most successful players of her generation with 13 professional victories, her most recent coming on the Ladies European Tour this month.

Nordqvist has also notably chalked up three major wins and is one of Europe’s leading points scorers of all time in the Solheim Cup.

Reflecting on her victory last year, Nordqvist said: “As a European, the AIG Women’s Open is a major that means a lot to me. It was also an extremely special win because it was so close to where my friends and family live, so I felt very much at home.

“The support I had from the crowd was unbelievable and I hope it is just as warm this year at Muirfield when I try to defend my title.”

Nordqvist is one of the 11 past champions in the field this year.

The others are Sophia Popov, Hinako Shibuno, Hall, Kim In-Kyung, Ariya, Park In-Bee, Mo Martin, Stacy Lewis, Catriona Matthew, and Laura Davies.

-Additional reporting by the Bangkok Post

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