May 30th, 2022
The Rising Star Power in Female Thai Golf
Six Thai golfers will tee it up at the 2022 US Women’s Open
Photography: Getty Images
With a slow couple of years and going from number one in the world to 57th, it’s not so much Ariya’s decline that is the narrative but the rising power of female Thai golfers altogether. Ariya set the bar and showed what was possible to up and coming female Thai golfers. She was Thailand’s four-minute mile.
With four Thai players above Ariya in the rankings now, it’s clear that Thailand is becoming the golfing capital of Asia - with around 300 courses, an endlessly stunning golf-friendly landscape, and a growing pool of world-class talent.
Who are the up and coming stars of Thai golf?
Patty Tavatanakit is frequently in the Thai sport news, and understandably so being only 22 years old and situated at 22nd in the LPGA rankings. Having only been competing for two years, Patty very quickly won her first LPGA major championship, the 2021 ANA Inspiration, and has gotten several top 5 finishes in the Chevron Championship, as well as the US Women’s Open.
It is perhaps Atthaya Thitikul, though, who is taking the world by storm right now at only 19 years of age. With 11 professional wins under her belt already - despite having only turned pro in 2020 like Patty, world-class rookie Atthaya is currently 5th in the LPGA rankings with a recent JTBC Classic win under her belt.
Atthaya was the youngest ever player to win a professional event when she won the Ladies European Thailand Competition at age 14 and 4 months. Since then, she has won another three, with seventeen top 10 finishes.
Atthaya began playing golf at the age of six, where she went on to become the world's amateur number one. Both Atthaya and Patty share the same sponsorship, Hana Financial Group, which also sponsors the likes of Minjee Lee and Lydia Ko.
Despite a great 2021 performance in the home-played Honda LPGA Thailand, where Ariya won and Atthaya came runner up, 2022’s recent showing was less dominant, with only Atthaya able to break into the top 10. However, they will look to turn things around next week at the 2022 US Women’s Open.
2022 US Women’s Open
With the US Women’s Open just around the corner, there are currently six Thai golfers that have guaranteed their place at Pine Needle’s. The six players are:
- Pajaree Anannarukarn
- Ariya Jutanugarn
- Moriya Jutanugarn
- Pornanong Phatlum
- Patty Tavatanakit
- Attaya Thitikul
The 20-year-old Philippine-Japanese sensation Yuka Saso is set to defend her 2021 title this year, which highlights not just an uprising of Asian talent but also young talent, with several under 25s in the top 20 LPGA rankings.