PATTAYA — Thai amateur Atthaya Thitikul, or “Nong Jean,” became the youngest winner in Ladies European Tour history at 14 years, 4 months, 19 days Sunday, breaking Lydia Ko’s record with a two-stroke victory in the Ladies European Thailand Championship.
Ko was 15 years, 9 months, 17 days when she set the LET record in the 2013 New Zealand Open.
“I’m so happy for my win this week and feel so proud of myself. I give this win to all Thais,” said Atthaya, who said she was inspired by Thai star Ariya Jutanugarn.
Atthaya closed with an even-par 72 to finish at 5-under 283 at Phoenix Gold Golf and Country Club in Chinburi. Mexico’s Ana Menendez was second after a 75.
“I was nervous at the first tee,” Atthaya said. “But I didn’t think about the scores. I just focused on my shots and only on my caddie. I didn’t expect to win this tournament as I just came here to learn techniques from the pro players on the Ladies European.”
Atthaya said she wouldn’t turn professional for a few years because she needs more experience.
She began the fourth round a shot behind Menendez after rounds of 70, 71 and 70. But the Mexican player dropped four shots on the front nine, handing Atthaya a two-shot lead at the turn after one birdie and two bogeys on her first nine holes.
Ko also won the Australian tour’s 2012 New South Wales Open at 14 years, 9 months at 3 days, and set the LPGA Tour record of 15 years, 4 months, 2 days in the 2012 Canadian Women’s Open.