On 24 February, 2018 a 15-year-old Atthaya Thitikul became the first Women’s Amateur Asia-Pacific (WAAP) champion and now just four years later, on the eve of this year’s championship, the Thai star has become world number one.
The championship was developed by The R&A and the Asia Pacific Golf Confederation (APGC) to give the leading women’s amateurs in the region the chance to shine on a world class stage but no-one expected that within just 56 months a player from that inaugural championship would reach number one in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings.
As WAAP is about to get underway at Siam Country Club in Pattaya, Thailand this week, the 19-year-old Thitikul has done just that, reaching the summit of the women’s ranking for the first time this week.
Thitikul’s assent is a huge inspiration to her fellow Thai players and the entire field of 86 top players from 21 countries.
Not only did Bangkok resident Thitikul win the first WAAP, she also finished second in the 2019 edition in Japan. In her first season as a professional on the Ladies European Tour, she won the Race to the Costa del Sol (Order of Merit), Rookie of the Year and Player of the Year Awards. In 2022, she has already won two titles in her first season on the LPGA Tour.
Thitikul is only the second player under the age of 20 to reach number one at 19 years, eight months and 11 days. New Zealand’s Lydia Ko was 17 years, nine months and nine days when she first reached number one in February 2015. At 14 years and four months, Thitikul became the youngest golfer to ever win a professional golf tournament at the LET’s Thailand Championship in 2017.