Atthaya Thitikul: Golf's New No. 1

Atthaya Thitikul: Golf's New No. 1 Atthaya Thitikul: Golf's New No. 1
Colleen Mooney

Thai teenager, Atthaya Thitikul, is embracing being golf’s new number 1 at the young age of 19. 

 

Atthaya has reached number 1 in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings, being the 16th different player to reach number one and the second from Thailand behind Ariya Jutanugarn, who sat on top for 23 weeks between June 2017 and March 2019. She is also the second player to reach number one in her LPGA Rookie Year. 

 

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The rookie moved one spot bumping the previous number 1 down. Jin Young Ko has secured the top spot since April 2019 and has spent a total of 152 weeks bunkered down at number one. The longest in the top position is 158 weeks, held by Lorena Ochoa. 

Thitikul is only the second player under 20 to hold the top spot at 19 years old. Lydia Ko was the youngest player at 17 years old the first time she reached this position in February 2015, and 18 years old when she reached this position for the second time in October 2015. 

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She admits to feeling a lot of pressure as the new number one as she headlines the LPGA tour in Japan. 

 

“Being number one is pressure – I don’t know how long I’m going to be number one in the world, but at least it’s just a ranking. But what you have to do is improve yourself a lot. No matter where I am – number one, 10, 20 or 100 – I’m just trying to improve myself and be myself every day that I play, as a person and as a competitor as well.”

 

Atthaya’s first event with the title of No. 1 was the TOTO Japan Classic. One order of business couldn’t be skipped over -her caddie’s new bib. Her caddie, Banbot Bunpisansaree, gets to wear a green bib, recognizing him as the caddie to the World’s Number 1. 

 

“It meant a lot to me but I think it meant a lot more to him,” said Thitikul. “I think he dreams of wearing the green bib since day one of caddying for me.”

Prior to joining the LPGA tour, she has become the youngest player ever to win the Ladies European Tour’s Race to Costa del Sol in 2021. She not only secured Rookie of the Year honors, but also player of the Year honors. At just 14 years old, she became the youngest golfer to win a professional golf tournament with her victory at the LET’s Thailand Championship in 2017. 

 

She has two victories so far in 2022, becoming a Rolex First-Time Winner at the JTBC Classic presented by Barbasol and adding another win at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship presented by P&G. Atthaya currently leads in the Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year standings with 1, 487 points, is third in scoring average on tour (69.432) and fourth in the race to become Rolex Player of the Year with 129 points. 

 

Some of her other accomplishments include a recorded 12 additional top -10 finishes this season, three of which were at major championships. She also ranks first on Tour in birdies (375), second in rounds in the 60s (44) and tied for fourth in number of eagles (11). 

 

"It means a lot for my team, my family, my supporters and myself. It is such an honor to have my name at the top amongst the biggest names of the game,” said Thitikul. “It is very special to get to the top but it is much harder to retain it. I still have a lot to learn from all the legends and current players both on and off the course. I will continue to work hard for my family, my team, my fans and my country."

 

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