Thai schoolgirl breaks Lydia Ko’s European tour record
Lydia Ko’s record as the youngest to win on the Ladies European Tour has been broken.
The New Zealand star set a new record when she won the 2013 New Zealand Open as an amateur. She was at the time aged 15 years, nine months and 17 days.
But the new record now belongs to Thai schoolgirl Atthaya Thitiku who won the Ladies European Thailand Championship last month. She was aged 14 years, four months and 19 days.
Thitiku had rounds of 70, 71, 70 and 72, to win by two strokes with a total of 283 at five under par.
Due to her amateur status, the top prize of 45,000 euros ($NZ70,000) went to second placed Ana Menendez of Mexico. But Thitiku, who only reached a scratch handicap last year, had no regrets.
``I’m so happy and proud of myself,’’ Thitiku said.
``I did not look nervous, but of course I felt nerves on the first tee and on the first hole.
``I did not think about the score. I committed to every shot I hit and stayed relaxed. My caddie helped me a lot, not to think too much, to focus on my game plan and to plan the tee shots and second shots.’’
Thitiku is not from a golfing family.
“My family do not play golf. When I was younger, aged six, my father told me to play sport and he offered tennis or golf and I watched golf on TV and I liked it.”
Thitiku, nicknamed Jeen, had previously demonstrated her potential when finishing tied for 37th in this year’s Honda LPGA Thailand event, which she played just a few days after her 14th birthday, on February 20.
She then received an invitation to play in the inaugural LET event at Phoenix Golf and Country Club in Pattaya from the tournament sponsor, the Sports Authority of Thailand. Her aim was to make the cut, gain experience and have fun.
Thitiku already has more experience than most other players of her age. In June she won the Taiwan Amateur Open after previously being second in the Queen Sirikit Cup in China.
Ko remains the youngest player to win two golf majors and the youngest to become the women’s world number one-ranked player.