AIG Women's Open contender Atthaya Thitikul 'hated' links golf but now 'loves it'

Atthaya Thitikul, one of the leading contenders in this week’s AIG Women’s Open, has admitted she “hated” links golf on her first visit to Scotland.

Atthaya Thitikul of Thailand talks to the media during a press conference ahead of the AIG Women's Open at Muirfield. Picture: Octavio Passos/Getty Images.
Atthaya Thitikul of Thailand talks to the media during a press conference ahead of the AIG Women's Open at Muirfield. Picture: Octavio Passos/Getty Images.

That came at Kingsbarns in the same event in 2017, when the Thai player missed the cut as an amateur.

“I would say it's the hardest major because I'm not a big fan of links,” admitted Thitikul, the world No 6, as she prepared for this week’s historic first staging at Muirfield.

“When I first came here and played my first British Open, it was at Kingsbarns. It's such a beautiful course, but I was like, ‘oh, my gosh, I hate it. I hate it’ (laughing).”

Had something in particular happened that week at the Fife venue to make her feel like that?

“Everything,” she added. “In Thailand, we don't have a real links course like here, the windy conditions like this.

“That's why I was kind of like, ‘oh, my gosh, this is a new experience, how far is my ball going to. For example, if I hit like 240 and it's going to go like 300 yards.

“And then sometimes your ball is bouncing, like, everywhere, and then the pot bunkers as well. That's why, yeah!”

The following year, Thitikul finished as the leading amateur at Royal Lytham before repeating the feat at Woburn in 2019.

Last year’s LET No 1 is now relishing a new links test in East Lothian for not only her but virtually everyone else in the 144-strong field.

“I love it,” she said of playing seaside golf these days. “Yeah, it's the most challenging major, in my opinion.”

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