RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. — Scottie Scheffler’s meteoric rise to world No. 1 has been the talk of the golf world. But there’s another golfer with a similarly astonishing ascent who is making her mark on the LPGA Tour.
Meet Atthaya Thitikul.
The 19-year-old has played some of the best golf in the world over the past year — though you probably didn’t know it. That’s just how she likes it.
When asked what she wants people to know about her at the Chevron Championship, she didn’t have to think long on an answer.
“Nothing,” Thitikul told GOLF.com. “Just keep me this way. Keep it low key.”
If she keeps playing as well as she has though, more of the world is going to take notice.
Thitikul ranked 308th in the world one year ago. She had a terrific amateur career — with two wins as an amateur on the Ladies European Tour — but her professional success was limited to wins in her home country of Thailand. Then, everything started to click.
Thitikul picked up a win at the Czech Ladies Open last June and then finished outside the top 10 just once over her next 10 starts. No matter where she teed it up, she was in contention. Her average finish during that stretch? Seventh — and that’s with a T48 sprinkled in. She bookended the run with another victory at the Swiss Ladies Open.
In 14 weeks, she jumped up over 100 spots up in the World Ranking. She was only getting started.
Thitikul closed 2021 strong with four more top-15 finishes over her final four starts. The impressive season earned her plenty of hardware. She won the LET’s season-long points race, Rookie of the Year and Player of the Year.
She began playing on the LPGA Tour in 2022, and it’s been much of the same. In the first five starts of her rookie season, Thitikul has four top-12 finishes, including her first LPGA victory at last week’s JTBC Classic.
Now, she’s fifth in the World Ranking. Did she even expect this type of rise?
“Not at all,” she said. “[But] I’m not really focused on world ranking. I focus on what I have to improve and what I have to work on to get better.”
At the moment, there isn’t a lot to improve upon. She ranks sixth on tour in SG: Off the Tee, eighth SG: Tee to Green and 24th in SG: Approach. In fact, she ranks inside the top 60 in every advanced metric the tour tracks.
Every facet of her game is rock solid. She knows how to think her way around the course, but also possesses surprising power. On the 18th hole at Mission Hills on Friday, Thitikul bombed a drive so far down the fairway she had just an iron into the island-green par-5. She calmly hit it to the center of the green, two-putted for birdie and signed for a four-under 68.
She’s enjoying every minute of it.
“It’s really amazing to be able to live my dream competing every week with the best players in the world,” she said.
If she keeps playing like she has, she may very well become the best player in the world.