Teen prodigy Atthaya Thitikul and Vanchai Luangnitikul salvaged their pride from the individual performance to win the Youth Olympic Games gold in Buenos Aires on Tuesday.
Atthaya and Vanchai, who finished eighth and fourth in the girls and boys individual events last week, rebounded to claim gold for Thailand in the mixed team event, carding a total of 12 under-par-268.
The United States and hosts Argentina took silver and bronze with total scores of 269 and 273.
Their success also boosted the national team after a flop at the Asian Games flop in Jakarta in August, when Thailand, one of the regional favourites, failed to bring home a single medal.
“I was a bit disappointed to not win any medal in the individual [event] so I was determined to make amends in the mixed team and I made it,” said 15-year-old Atthaya, the youngest winner of a Ladies European Tour when she won the LET in Chon Buri last year. “I’m so honoured to win gold for my country,”.
Vanchai had actually braced himself to settle for silver as the US team led by five strokes after 15 holes – but they suffered a series of bogeys and let the gold slip away.
“After 15 holes, I just tried to play safe to make sure that we would take at least the silver. I didn’t know we would win until I finished the round. I have to give big credit to Atthaya for shooting scores for our team,” the 16-year-old Vanchai said.
It marked the first Youth Olympic Games golf gold medal for Thailand after Danthai Boonma and Supamas Sangchan won bronze in the boys and girls events in China four years ago.
It was also Thailand’s third gold in Argentina after Kanthida Saengsin and Supatchanin Khamhaeng won the women’s taekwondo 55kg and the women’s weightlifting 63kg.