Atthaya Thitikul says playing and winning the inaugural Women’s Amateur Asia-Pacific was the perfect preparation for recording a top ten finish in her first start at the HSBC Women’s World Championship in Singapore.
The Thai prodigy, who only turned 15 last week, secured a start in the LPGA event as a result of her dramatic play-off victory on the same course at Sentosa Golf Club last week.
On Sunday, on the new Tanjong course once more, Thitikul recorded a bogey-free six-under par 66 to finish tied for eighth – just four shots behind tournament victor Michelle Wie.
A glistening scorecard including four birdies and an eagle at the par-5 13th hole was an impressive return for the sole amateur in the field. And Thitikul, known as Jeeno, said the previous week’s work at Sentosa set her up nicely.
“Everything's there, it's so good. I'm so happy on the golf course.
“The experience from last week, the hole locations, the slopes, the greens, everything, I have more confidence from last week.”
Thitikul is not completely new to the professional ranks. She holds the record for the youngest ever winner on the Ladies European Tour when she claimed victory at the Ladies European Thailand Championship in July aged just 14 years, 4 months and 9 days old.
She began the week at the HSBC as the joint youngest starter of the championship at 15 years and 9 months – the exact same age at which Singapore’s Amanda Tan teed it up at Sentosa in 2014.
Thitikul now looks forward to competing against the best in the world again at the ANA Inspiration later this month and the Ricoh Women’s British Open in August – exemptions she secured as Women’s Amateur Asia-Pacific champion.
The smiley teen says she will “have more confidence” going into those from the experience she has gained over the last two weeks, adding “RICOH and ANA will be good, and will be better than last year.”
But for now, the focus returns to the amateur game as she travels to Qatar next week to take her spot in the Asia-Pacific team in the Patsy Hankins Trophy against the Continent of Europe.