Thinking back to the first time she saw an AIG Women’s Open course, Thailand’s Atthaya Thitikul couldn’t help but laugh at her initial reaction. “When I first came here and played my first British Open, I think that's in Kingsbarns, I guess,” she said. “It's such a beautiful course, and that's my only like, that's my first time playing links. And I was like, oh, my gosh, I hate it. I hate it!”
Thitikul missed the cut in that debut, but thankfully it seems like her estimation of links golf – or at least her prowess – has improved since 2017. The 2022 LPGA Tour rookie has made the cut in the last three AIG Women’s Opens, and even tied for second at the 2012 Trust Golf Women’s Scottish Open held at Dumbarnie Links. Links golf is still not her favorite, but the 19-year-old still sees the value in the change of pace that comes with a challenging week in Scotland.
“I love the challenge. I love how you have to have it all, like all the things, all the weather and the wind, how the ball going to react in the course,” Thitikul said ahead of teeing it up at Muirfield. “Yeah, it's kind of like (the most) challenging major in my thought.”
Thitikul has already captured a title in her rookie season, winning the JTBC Classic presented by Barbasol in March. She holds a 61-point lead over Hye-Jin Choi in the race for 2022 Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year honors, and is among the Tour leaders in top-10 finishes (eight, T1), scoring average (69.789, sixth), strokes gained off the tee (0.780, T7) and total strokes gained (1.870, eighth).