Atthaya Thitikul aims for March return to LPGA

golf27 February 2024 06:44| © Reuters
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Atthaya Thitikul © Gallo Images

Atthaya Thitikul, out all season due to a thumb injury, hopes to return to action next month in Arizona, her agent told Golfweek on Monday.

Thitikul, a 21-year-old from Thailand, became the world's No 1-ranked player for a stretch in 2022 en route to winning LPGA Tour rookie of the year honours. Last year, she won the Vare Trophy that goes to the player with the lowest scoring average on tour.

This year, however, a left thumb tendon injury has kept her sidelined. She missed the tour's annual stop in her home country last week, when another Thai player, Patty Tavatanakit, won the Honda LPGA Thailand in Chonburi.

Thitikul's agent told Golfweek that the player's six- to eight-week recovery window could see her get back on tour at the Ford Championship, scheduled for March 28-31 in Gilbert, Ariz.

Thitikul owns two wins on tour, both in 2022, the JTBC Classic and Walmart NW Arkansas Championship. She captured both in playoffs. In 2023, she became the only player in the 70-year history of the Vare Trophy to earn the award without winning a tournament.

"I had no idea I was going to win the Vare Trophy, to be honest," she said after wrapping up the honour at the CME Group Tour Championship. "In the middle of the season, I played really bad. I mean, like missed two cuts in the major events and then also not playing quite good in the middle of the year. So, I think it's really (meaningful) for me when I just bounce back from like really (being) uncomfortable when I don't have any confidence there during that time.

"(I'm) really happy that I got over it, got past it, overcame it."