Atthaya Thitikul feels ‘pressure’ being world No. 1 and still trying to improve
After missing out on a chance to become world No. 1 in Korea two weeks ago, it wouldn’t be long before that feat came Atthaya Thitikul’s way.
The 19-year-old Thai needed a fourth-place finish at the BMW Ladies Championship. She held the 54-hole lead, but shot a final-round 74 and finished sixth.
However, by the time her next LPGA start came around, Thitikul would claim the No. 1 throne anyway, becoming the second-ever LPGA player to notch that accomplishment before age 20 (Lydia Ko did it at 17 years old).
Now that Thitikul has earned that prestigious accomplishment, she notes it comes with some baggage.
“Being No. 1 is pressure,” Thitikul said Wednesday ahead of the LPGA’s Toto Japan Classic.
Though being world No. 1 comes with added weight on her shoulders, she’s excited to have rapidly made her way to the top.
“I hadn’t thought that I would be No. 1 in the world that fast,” she said. “And I didn’t think I would achieve this in my first year on the LPGA as well. Overall, I’m feeling great. Feeling grateful that this has happened this year.”
Thitikul has won twice this season and has posted 12 additional top-10s en route to becoming the second player from Thailand to hold the Rolex Rankings’ No. 1 spot. Ariya Jutanugarn first accomplished the feat in June 2017.
Thitikul is no stranger to making history. In 2017, at age 14, she became the youngest-ever player to win a professional golf tournament at the Ladies European Tour’s Thailand Championship. Last year, she was the youngest to win the LET’s Race to Costa del Sol.
Now, even after adding another distinguished accolade to her illustrious resume, she still sees room for growth.
“I don’t know how long I’m going to be No. 1 in the world, but at least it’s just a ranking,” she said. “But, what you have to do is improve yourself a lot. I mean, no matter where I am – No. 1, 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.”