This week sees the opportunity for local Pattaya residents to be able to see one of the world’s leading golfing talents Atthaya “Jeeno” Thitikul, who will be playing in the Phoenix Ladies Classic which is being held at Phoenix Gold Golf and Country Club Pattaya from 26-28 March.
The last year has seen many golf careers put on hold as the pandemic has resulted in many players being unable to leave their home countries, and no player has suffered more than 18-year-old Atthaya “Jeeno” Thitikul who hails from Ratchaburi in Thailand.
Much of her golfing success has been achieved in the Pattaya area and she sprung to the golf world’s attention back in 2017, when as a fourteen-year-old she won the European Thailand Ladies Championship at Phoenix Gold Golf and Country Club. She has also appeared twice in the Honda LPGA event at Siam Old Course and it would be of no surprise if this week she breaks her own course record of 63, which she shot in the third round of the 2019 European Thailand Ladies Championship.
Other notable successes in her relatively short career have included twice finishing as the leading amateur at the British Open (2018 & 2019) and, just prior to turning professional, being ranked as the world’s leading amateur.
One of her biggest success in her amateur career was winning the inaugural 2018 Pacific Amateur Open and this earned her a place at the HSBC World Championship on the same course in Singapore. This was won by Michelle Wie and “Jeeno”, at 15 years of age, produced four great rounds of golf to finish in 8th place leaving many of the top LPGA players well behind her.
On turning professional in January 2020, she was too young to compete on the LPGA Q School so she joined the LET tour. Sadly, for her the year then ended on the international stage as she was unable to leave home shores. However, time hasn’t stood still for her and last season five victories on the Thailand LPGA saw her walking away with the Order of Merit title.
In May she will be relocating to Europe so that she can take a full part in the LET 2021 season. She is definitely a player to look out for and it will be a major surprise if she doesn’t win at least one major LET event this season.
She is no longer the “child prodigy” and is now one of the leading young players in the world today. She is sponsored by SCG and her management team, “MJK management,” are ensuring that everything possible is being done to ensure that her path to the top is as smooth as possible.
The great thing about the Thailand WPGA event is that it is not guaranteed that “Jeeno” will do enough to be receiving the trophy from the tour’s president, Chanya Swangchitr, on Sunday. There is more than enough talent on show to push this humble young lady all of the way, and she knows that will need to be at the very top of her game in order to win it.