It is not surprising that Atthaya Thitikul is in the lead for the Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year Award given the success she has achieved in her first LPGA season.
With 14 LPGA events left, the battle is mainly between the 19-year-old Thai star and Hye-Jin Choi, who is 61 points behind after last week’s Women’s Scottish Open champion Ayaka Furue. The 19-year-old Thai star has a triumph and six previous top-10 finishes.
However, if you ask Thitikul, she doesn’t anticipate increasing her advantage in the AIG Women’s Open this week.
Despite twice receiving low-amateurs in this big event, Thitikul has only played in four prior Women’s Open starts and has a best finish of T-29.
She stated on Wednesday at Muirfield, “I would say it’s the hardest major… because I’m not a huge lover of links. Every year, I travel to Scotland and England to begin playing links courses, but I would admit that it has been a bit of a learning curve.
The first time Thitikul experienced links was in this competition in 2017 in Kingsbarns, which is located roughly 80 miles from Muirfield (or less than 20 miles as the crow flies over the Firth of Forth). She missed the cut and reportedly said that week, “Oh, my my, I hate links golf.”
Why? “Everything,” she answered. “Everything. In Thailand, for example, we don’t have a proper links course with these kinds of windy conditions. Because of this, we are somewhat in awe of the event. I hit it at about 240, and it will travel about 300 yards. Additionally, there are moments when the pot bunkers and your ball both bounce wildly. Thus, I say.
Thitikul, whose first missed cut of the year occurred at the Scottish last week, isn’t quite ready to give up on this week, though. She is currently ranked sixth in the world, fifth in the CME Globe Race, and has finished in the top ten at the last two majors.
In other words, even though it hasn’t yet resulted in links, her game travels.
At the same time, she added, “I also enjoy linkages.” “I enjoy a challenge. I appreciate how you have to consider everything, including the wind and weather, as well as how the ball will behave on the course.