THAI TEEN ATTHAYA THITIKUL READIES FOR PRESSURE AHEAD OF HSBC WOMEN’S WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
Thailand’s Atthaya Thitikul admits she has to learn how to play better under pressure if she is going to enjoy more success as she takes another shot at glory at this week’s HSBC Women’s World Championship.
Atthaya, the current world No. 4 is part of a star-studded line-up that features 17 of the world’s top 20, including all of the world’s top five. They will be battling for a lucrative prize purse of US$1.8 million at the renowned Tanjong Course at Sentosa Golf Club, which is hosting its tenth edition of the tournament.
At 20, the teen sensation has achieved what most of her peers can only dream about. After finishing fourth at last year’s HSBC Women’s World Championship, she went on a barnstorming run last year which saw her secure 16 top-10 finishes, two victories and saw her crowned 2022 LPGA Rookie of the Year.
The Thai even became the second youngest female golfer after Lydia Ko to reach the summit of the world golf rankings where she stayed briefly for two weeks.
“I feel the pressure, for sure. Obviously, when you are at the top of your game, everyone will be watching you and there’s going to be pressure. I achieved success really fast in my rookie year and the spotlight has been on me ever since.
“It’s a good sign but there are many things I have to learn too. I’m trying to keep to being myself the same me as day one, being kind to all the fans, and managing my time between my sponsors, media obligations and practice,” said Atthaya.
Atthaya came close to rewarding her adoring fans with a victory on home soil at the Honda LPGA Thailand last week but had to settle for a third-placed finish.
“I’m not going to lie. Playing in your home country is always nice but at the same time, you do feel the pressure because everyone wants you to win and you also want to make your country proud,” said Atthaya.
Away from home and back in the Lion City, Atthaya is looking forward to repeating her heroics on a familiar winning ground where she won the 2018 Women’s Amateur Asia-Pacific as a 15-year-old.
“I love Sentosa. It’s always in good condition and the course suits my eye. I have so many good memories here and really looking forward to the week,” said Atthaya.
American Nelly Korda, the world No.2 and Olympic Gold medalist, is also delighted to be back in Singapore for the HSBC Women’s World Championship. The 24-year-old last played in the 2019 edition where she finished 10th.
“I’m super excited to be back as I really enjoy the golf course. Playing well last week and going into this week, I hope to keep the good momentum going. The course is probably going to be a little softer with the weather and this golf course drains really well and has always been in really good condition,” said Korda, who finish tied-sixth in Thailand last week.
This year marks the 15th edition of the HSBC Women’s World Championship and remarkably, of the 14 previous winners, 12 are Major champions, lending yet further credibility to the player’s claim that this is ‘Asia’s Major.’