Atthaya Thitikul Becomes Second-Youngest World No.1

The 19-year-old has overtaken Jin Young Ko at the top of the Rolex Women's World Golf Rankings

Atthaya Thitikul takes a shot during the 2022 BMW Ladies Championship
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Thai player Atthaya Thitikul has become World No.1 for the first time, aged just 19, after finishing sixth in the BMW Ladies Championship.

The prodigy’s achievement puts her in exclusive company alongside Lydia Ko as the only other player to reach the summit before turning 20. Thitikul achieved the feat aged 19 years, eight months and 11 days, whereas Ko became World No.1 aged just 17 in 2015.

Thitikul, who has replaced Jin Young Ko at the top, was delighted with the achievement. She said: "It means a lot for my team, my family, my supporters and myself. It is such an honour to have my name at the top amongst the biggest names of the game. It is very special to get to the top but it is much harder to retain it. I still have a lot to learn from all the legends and current players both on and off the course. I will continue to work hard for my family, my team, my fans and my country."

Thitikul has had an impressive season including two wins on the LPGA Tour among 14 top-10 finishes. That included three in this year’s Majors as her career has flourished. Thitikul arrived on the scene in 2017. After making her debut on the LPGA Tour in February that year, she became the youngest player to win a professional tournament, the Ladies European Thailand Championship, on the Ladies European Tour five months later aged 14 years, four months and nine days. She has also been the World No.1 amateur twice after originally reaching the summit in 2019.

The player's reputation was further enhanced in 2021 when, following an incredible season, she was named LET Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year. In reaching World No.1, she becomes the 16th player to achieve the honour and the second from Thailand after Ariya Jutanugarn held the position from June 2017 to March 2019. She is also only the second player to do so in her rookie year, after Sung Hyun Park in November 2017.

Mike Hall

Mike has over 25 years of experience in journalism, including writing on a range of sports throughout that time, such as golf, football and cricket. Now a freelance staff writer for Golf Monthly, he is dedicated to covering the game's most newsworthy stories. 

He has written hundreds of articles on the game, from features offering insights into how members of the public can play some of the world's most revered courses, to breaking news stories affecting everything from the PGA Tour and LIV Golf to developmental Tours and the amateur game. 

Mike grew up in East Yorkshire and began his career in journalism in 1997. He then moved to London in 2003 as his career flourished, and nowadays resides in New Brunswick, Canada, where he and his wife raise their young family less than a mile from his local course. 

Kevin Cook’s acclaimed 2007 biography, Tommy’s Honour, about golf’s founding father and son, remains one of his all-time favourite sports books.