Thai amateur star Atthaya Thitikul has won the Ladies European Thailand Championship for the second time in three years.
The 16-year-old from Ratchaburi finished with a five-under-par 67 on a weather-interrupted final day to win by five shots from Esther Henseleit of Germany.
Thitikul’s triumph at the Phoenix Gold Golf and Country Club two years ago aged 14 years, four months and three days made her the youngest known winner of a professional golf tournament.
She backed up that success with a phenomenal performance at the same venue, posting rounds of 69, 67, 63 (a course record) and 67 for a winning total of 22-under 266 on Sunday.
At 16 years, four months and three days, the No.5 ranked amateur in the world became the youngest player to win two Ladies European Tour titles and the most exciting prospect in women’s golf since Lydia Ko, who had won four professional titles by the same age.
“It feels unreal,” said Thitikul, who wasn’t distracted by a three-hour weather delay due to storms in the middle of her round. “I’m really pleased with all the things I’ve done in this tournament.
“The last time I had a bogey was in round two. I put the ball in the right places. Since I won two years ago I kept working hard and I’ve grown in confidence. Today I didn’t actually sing a song to myself, I was just talking with my caddie.”
German rookie Henseleit shot an impressive final round of eight-under-par 64 and since Thitikul is still an amateur, she collected the winner’s cheque for €45,000 (approximately 1,575,000 baht), moving to second on the LET order of merit although she said that she would have preferred a trophy.
“This is my third second place this year and of course I would love a victory, but Atthaya played so well and she deserves this trophy.”
Germany’s Olivia Cowan finished third on 11-under 277, with Norwegians Marianne Skarpnord and Tonje Daffinrud tied for fourth place on 279.
Nattagate Nimitpongkul was the second best Thai after a joint sixth-place finish alongside Hannah Burke and Beth Allen. Carmen Alonso was tied for ninth with another Thai player Chorphaka Jaengkit.
Defending champion Kanyalak Preedasuttijit finished at joint 13th on three-under 285 after a final 72.
Thitikul’s second win in the tournament will renew the question of when she will turn professional, but with her second LET title, she will once again qualify for the Evian Championship and the Women’s British Open, which means that European fans will get to see her perform in next month’s majors.