Thai teen Atthaya Thitikul now No. 1 in women’s golf ranking

Oct 30, 2022, 10:41 PM | Updated: Oct 31, 2022, 10:43 am
FILE - Atthaya Thitikul of Thailand watches her shot on the 16th hole during the LPGA Walmart NW Ar...

FILE - Atthaya Thitikul of Thailand watches her shot on the 16th hole during the LPGA Walmart NW Arkansas Championship golf tournament on Sept. 25, 2022, in Rogers, Ark. Atthaya Thitikul shot a 9-under 63 on Thursday, Oct. 20, to lead after the first round of the LPGA BMW Ladies Championship in South Korea. She was a stroke ahead of Minsol Kim and three up on a trio of players: A Lim Kim, Andrea Lee, and Yaeeun Hong. (AP Photo/Michael Woods, File)

(AP Photo/Michael Woods, File)

              FILE - Thailand's Atthaya Thitikul lines up a putt on the eighth green during the LPGA The Ascendant golf tournament in The Colony, Texas, Oct. 1, 2022. Atthaya shot a 9-under 63 to set a tournament record and lead after the first round of the BMW Ladies Championship on Thursday, Oct. 20, in Wonju, South Korea. (AP Photo/LM Otero, File)
            
              FILE - Thailand's Atthaya Thitikul swings through a tee shot on the 10th hole during the LPGA The Ascendant golf tournament in The Colony, Texas, Oct. 1, 2022. Atthaya shot a 9-under 63 to set a tournament record and lead after the first round of the BMW Ladies Championship on Thursday, Oct. 20, in Wonju, South Korea. (AP Photo/LM Otero, File)
            
              FILE - Atthaya Thitikul of Thailand watches her shot on the 16th hole during the LPGA Walmart NW Arkansas Championship golf tournament on Sept. 25, 2022, in Rogers, Ark. Atthaya Thitikul shot a 9-under 63 on Thursday, Oct. 20, to lead after the first round of the LPGA BMW Ladies Championship in South Korea. She was a stroke ahead of Minsol Kim and three up on a trio of players: A Lim Kim, Andrea Lee, and Yaeeun Hong. (AP Photo/Michael Woods, File)

Thai teenager Atthaya Thitikul reached No. 1 in the women’s world ranking on Monday, the 16th player and second-youngest to get to the top since the ranking began in 2006.

Thitikul had a chance to reach No. 1 by winning any of her last three tournaments on the LPGA Tour. Instead, the 19-year-old replaced Jin Young Ko of South Korea on a week in which she didn’t play.

Thitikul heads to the Toto Japan Classic to make her debut at No. 1.

“It is very special to get to the top but it is much harder to retain,” Thitikul said.

Her first full year on the LPGA Tour has been more consistent than superb. Thitikul has won twice — in California a week before the first major and in Arkansas — to go along with 12 other finishes in the top 10.

She ended last year at No. 19 in the world after a two-win season on the Ladies European Tour and took advantage of strong play and injuries at the top.

Nelly Korda, who started the year at No. 1, had surgery for a blood clot in her left arm and wound up missing four months.

Ko began her season by winning the HSBC Women’s World Championship in Singapore and had been No. 1 since the end of January. But she is dealing with an injury in her left wrist that kept her out for two months, and then she withdrew in her return at the BMW Ladies Championship in South Korea.

That cleared the way for Thitikul, who has finished in the top 10 her last five starts.

Thitikul is the fourth player to reach No. 1 without having won a major, joining Lydia Ko in 2015, Ai Miyazato in 2010 and Lorena Ochoa.

Lydia Ko remains the youngest to be No. 1, getting there for the first time at age 17.

Thitikul in 2017 became the youngest player to win a professional golf tournament at the Ladies European Thailand Championship when she was 14 years, 4 months. That was among her four LET victories.

She joins Sung Hyun Park as the only players to reach No. 1 during their rookie season on the LPGA Tour. Park had won 10 times on the Korea LPGA before coming to America.

Jin Young Ko has been No. 1 four times for a total of 152 weeks, leaving her seven weeks short of breaking the record for most weeks at No. 1 set by Ochoa from April 2007 until her surprise retirement three years later.

___

AP golf: https://apnews.com/hub/golf and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Charlotte Hornets center Mark Williams (5) blocks a shot by Washington Wizards center Kristaps Porz...
Associated Press

Porzingis makes eight 3s as Wizards beat Hornets, end skid

WASHINGTON (AP) — Kristaps Porzingis scored 36 points and matched a career high with eight 3-pointers, and the Washington Wizards beat the Charlotte Hornets 118-104 on Wednesday night to stop a three-game skid. Deni Avdija had 20 points and 12 rebounds and Bradley Beal had 17 points and 10 assists for the Wizards, who broke […]
19 hours ago
Cleveland Cavaliers center Jarrett Allen (31) plays against Detroit Pistons center Jalen Duren (0) ...
Associated Press

Allen, Mobley power Cavaliers to 113-85 win over Pistons

CLEVELAND (AP) — Jarrett Allen scored 20 points, Evan Mobley added 19 and the Cleveland Cavaliers won their fourth straight game, 113-85 over the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday night despite resting their starting backcourt. All-Star starter Donovan Mitchell (groin) and Darius Garland (thumb) got the night off to heal some nagging injuries and the Cavs […]
19 hours ago
Vanderbilt guard Jordan Wright (4) drives against Tennessee guard Santiago Vescovi during the first...
Associated Press

Vandy stuns No. 6 Tennessee on Lawrence’s buzzer-beating 3

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tyrin Lawrence knocked down a 3-pointer from the right corner at the buzzer as the Vanderbilt Commodores snapped an 11-game skid against its in-state rival by upsetting sixth-ranked Tennessee 66-65 Wednesday night. Students rushed the court and joined the Commodores in celebrating easily the biggest win in coach Jerry Stackhouse’s fourth […]
19 hours ago
Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Haason Reddick stretches during an NFL football Super Bowl team prac...
Associated Press

Eagles count on pass rush to harass Mahomes in Super Bowl

PHOENIX (AP) — The defensive philosophy that has carried the Philadelphia Eagles to the Super Bowl is relatively simple. A deep rotation of defensive linemen provides constant pressure that makes opposing quarterbacks uncomfortable and often leads to them ending on the ground. “It’s always a race to the quarterback,” defensive tackle Fletcher Cox said. “We […]
19 hours ago
Fulham's Harry Wilson celebrates scoring their side's first goal of the game during the English FA ...
Associated Press

Rashford, Sancho answer taunts with goals to get Man U point

MANCHESTER, England (AP) — In the face of cruel taunts from Leeds fans, Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho responded in style. Both players scored in a rousing second-half comeback as Manchester United rallied Wednesday to salvage a 2-2 draw in the Premier League. “You let your country down,” fans chanted in the away section at […]
19 hours ago
Emily Fox of the U.S., center, leads a string of teammates against New Zealand during their women's...
Associated Press

US forward Alex Morgan supports transgender kids in sports

Forward Alex Morgan says the U.S. national team should have internal discussions about whether to play exhibition games in states that restrict transgender kids from participating in sports. The team is currently preparing for the SheBelieves Cup, a round-robin tournament with Canada, Brazil and Japan that starts next week. Matches are scheduled in Florida and […]
19 hours ago
Thai teen Atthaya Thitikul now No. 1 in women’s golf ranking