Thailand’s Atthaya Thitikul is currently in a tie for third through round one of the Mizuho Americas Open, opening with a 4-under, 68 to sit three back of the lead alongside Stephanie Meadow. Thitikul recorded one bogey and five birdies on Thursday, carding three birdies in her first four holes from Nos. 10 to 13 and two back-to-back birdies on holes 3 and 4. It’s just the third time this season that Thitikul has opened with 68 or better – the last time she did so was a few weeks ago at the Cognizant Founders Cup where she ultimately finished T5 – and the 20-year-old was pleased with her early effort at Liberty National Golf Club.
“I think it's because of not much wind, because I started from 10 today, so not much wind when I start. Two of them is par 5 and one is par 4 so it's a reachable par 5 on 10. I think most of the people go for it in the second shot, so I just go for it and made two-putt,” said Thitikul, who hit 11 of 14 fairways and 16 of 18 greens. “And 12 and 13, 13 was a reachable par 5 as well. Just hit it good. Had like a 30-yard lie pitch shot there. I do like 12’s layout. It’s a hard layout and you have to decide where you want to go. We're going right today because the pin was on the left, and kind of make the momentum going for today.”
This is Thitikul’s second season on the LPGA Tour. She has two career victories which both came in her rookie season at the JTBC Classic presented by Barbasol and the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship presented by P&G and 19 additional career top-10 finishes, five of which were earned this year. The Thai hasn’t finished worse than T33 in 2023, with her best finish this season being a solo third at the Honda LPGA Thailand. Thitikul also helped to lead the Thailand team to victory at the Hanwha LIFEPLUS International Crown in early May at the storied TPC Harding Park in San Francisco, Calif., suggesting that the 2022 Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year just has a thing for challenging, historic venues.
“I will say I do like easy more than hard. Everyone does like easier course more than hard. But when it's hard I feel like it's another course or challenging one that you have to play, and you have to really be patient on that. I think sometimes I do like it. Sometime not really, when I'm not playing well,” Thitikul said. “As a golfer, we don't play the same course every week. We have to change the course that we have to play every week. I think it's really challenging. You don't see the course, you haven't played this course before, and then I love seeing a new course because I don't know what's going on there.”