OTSU, JAPAN (AFP) – Thai teenager Atthaya Thitikul admitted yesterday to feeling the pressure of being the new women’s golf number one as she headlines the LPGA tour’s return to Japan after a three-year absence.
The 19-year-old is only the second player under 20 to reach women’s world number one – New Zealand’s Lydia Ko was 17 when she first topped the rankings in 2015.
Days after taking over at the top from South Korea’s Ko Jin-young, Atthaya will tee off at the Japan Classic and will be looking to win a third LPGA title of a stunning debut year.
“Being number one is pressure – I don’t know how long I’m going to be number one in the world, but at least it’s just a ranking,” Atthaya told reporters on the eve of the tournament.
“But what you have to do is improve yourself a lot. No matter where I am – number one, 10, 20 or 100 – I’m just trying to improve myself and be myself every day that I play, as a person and as a competitor as well.”
A strong Japanese contingent including world number nine Nasa Hataoka and former major champions Hinako Shibuno and Yuka Saso will be aiming to stop Atthaya at Seta Golf Course in western Shiga Prefecture.