TEEN PRODIGY Atthaya Thitikul is breathing down the neck of Filipina leader Yuka Saso after shooting the lowest score in round two of the 40th Queen Sirikit Cup at the Thana City Country Club on Bangkok’s outskirts yesterday.
The 15-year-old Thai, who became the youngest Ladies European Tour winner at only 14 when she won in Pattaya last July, produced a flawless round of 65 for a total eight-under-par 136 at the par-72 course stretching 6,343 yards. Atthaya lies one stroke behind Philippine Ladies Open winner Saso, who tops the individual leader board of the Asia-Pacific Amateur Ladies Golf Team event after carding a 66 for a total nine-under-par 135.
“I was feeling really good on my approach shots although I wish I could have done better with my tee shots. I hit the fairways on seven holes and 15 greens on regular,” said Atthaya, winner of February’s Amateur Asia-Pacific Championship in Singapore.
“Being only one behind, I still stand a chance at winning the individual event. I need to hit strong approach shots and make some good putts to win,” added the country’s rising star, who is tied in second along with Japan’s Yuna Nishimura (69).
In the team event, the Philippines lead with a combined 277, followed by Japan with 278 while Thailand’s trio of Atthaya, Tunrada Piddon (145) and Natthakritta Vongtaveelap (148) are tied for third with South Korea on 279.
A total of 14 nations – Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, India, Myanmar, Hong Kong, Taiwan, China, the Philippines, Japan, South Korea and Thailand – are vying for the team trophy.
Thailand has never won the team title, though the Kingdom’s Suppamas Sangchan was individual winner in 2013.