Thai teenager Atthaya Thitikul is now No. 1 in women’s golf rankings

Thai teenager Atthaya Thitikul reached No. 1 in the Women’s World Rankings on Monday, the 16th player and the second youngest to reach the top since the rankings began in 2006.

Thitikul had a chance to reach No. 1 by winning one of his last three tournaments on the LPGA Tour. Instead, the 19-year-old replaced South Korea’s Jin Young Ko in a week she didn’t play.

Thitikul heads to the Toto Japan Classic to debut at No. 1.

“It’s very special to reach the top but it’s much harder to remember,” said Thitikul.

His first full year on the LPGA Tour has been more consistent than superb. Thitikul has won twice – in California a week before the first major and in Arkansas – to go along with 12 other top-10 finishes.

She finished last year ranked 19th in the world after a two-victory season on the Ladies European Tour and benefited from strong play and injuries at the top.

Nelly Korda, who started the year at No. 1, underwent surgery for a blood clot in her left arm and was missing for four months.

Ko started her season by winning the HSBC Women’s World Championship in Singapore and had been No. 1 since late January. But she suffers from a left wrist injury that kept her out for two months and then withdrew on her return to the BMW Ladies Championship in South Korea.

This paved the way for Thitikul, who has finished in the top 10 in his last five starts.

Thitikul is the fourth player to reach No. 1 without winning a major, joining Lydia Ko in 2015, Ai Miyazato in 2010 and Lorena Ochoa.

Lydia Ko remains the youngest to be No. 1, arriving there for the first time at 17.

Thitikul became the youngest player to win a professional golf tournament in Thailand’s European Women’s Championship in 2017 at the age of 14 years and 4 months. It was among his four LET wins.

She joins Sung Hyun Park as the only player to achieve No. 1 in her rookie season on the LPGA Tour. Park had won 10 times on the LPGA of Korea before coming to America.

Jin Young Ko was No. 1 four times for a total of 152 weeks, leaving him seven weeks before breaking the record for most weeks at No. 1 set by Ochoa from April 2007 until his surprise retirement three years later.

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