Thai prodigy Atthaya ‘Jean’ Thitikul underlined her immense potential when she claimed a thrilling playoff victory in the inaugural Women’s Amateur Asia-Pacifc at Sentosa Golf Club in Singapore.
Taking a two-shot lead into the last round, the 15-year-old closed with a 71 at Sentosa’s New Tanjong Course to finish regulation play tied on eight-under-par with New Zealand’s Keh Wenyung (67), Japan’s Yuna Nishimura (69) and Yuka Saso of the Philippines (68).
After Keh and Saso dropped out with bogeys on the first and second playoff holes respectively, Atthaya prevailed with a par at the third extra hole as Nishimura bogeyed. The Thai fittingly clinched the title on the par-four 12th hole, where she had made a messy double bogey in regulation play.
The victory earned Atthaya invitations to the ANA Inspiration (29 March-1 April) at Mission Hills Country Club in California and the Ricoh Women’s British Open (2-5 August) at Royal Lytham & St Annes in England, as well as next week’s 11th HSBC Women’s World Championship, also at Sentosa Golf Club.
Natasha Andrea Oon finished as the best Malaysian player in T29 position on nine-over-par, followed by Liyana Durisic (T34 on +11), Geraldine Wong (46th on +20) and Qistina Balqis Azhar (T50 on +22). Winnie Ng and Ashley Lau missed the halfway but by one shot.
The 72-hole stroke play event featured 83 players representing 18 nations, with 48 players aged 18 years or under. The field includes 15 players from the World Amateur Golf Rankings’s top 100, comprising four from Korea, three from Japan, two each from Australia, Thailand and Chinese Taipei, and one each from China and the Philippines.
The Women’s Amateur Asia-Pacific championship was developed by the Asia Pacific Golf Confederation (APGC) and The R&A to nurture talent and provide a pathway for Asia’s elite female amateurs to the international stage.