Jakarta: World No.9 Atthaya Thitikul insists she is not under pressure to live up to her reputation as the highest-ranked player when she makes her debut in the Simone Asia-Pacific Cup, which commences today in Jakarta.
While most of the world’s best players are taking a brief competition hiatus following a hectic season, the 20-year-old Thai, a two-time LPGA Tour winner, had little qualms about making one last appearance at the Pondok Indah Golf Course (PIGC) before 2023 brings down its curtain.
All Atthaya wants to do is to “have fun” with her teammate and fellow LPGA Tour competitor Jaravee Boonchant and do Thailand proud in the US$750,000 event, which features a unique format where players compete for both individual and team glory.
Atthaya, also fondly known by her nickname ‘Jean’, is fully aware that she’s going to face a strong competition.
The other notable names in the 58-woman field are world No.17 and six-time LPGA Tour winner Nasa Hataoka of Japan, along with Korean LPGA Tour stars Lee Da-Yeon, Lee So-Young, Lim Hee-Jeong, Kim Min-Byeol and Hwang You-Min.
“I don’t really have pressure as I try not to think about the results. But it is my last event for the year so I’m just going to give it my best and just have fun with my team,” said Atthaya, who had 13 top-10 finishes on the LPGA Tour this season.
“I think there’s a lot of expectations of me at the moment but I think it should be fun, and PIGC is a good course and in good condition.”
Hataoka was also honoured to be lending her star credentials to the Simone Asia-Pacific Cup, which forms part of the burgeoning Ladies Asian Tour Series, a brainchild of the Asia Golf Leaders Forum (AGLF).
“I’m so happy to be here. Like Japan and Korea, they have big tournaments but not so much in Indonesia and other Asian countries,” said Hataoka, who came joint runner-up at the LPGA Tour’s season-ending CME Group Tour Championship recently.
“Through this tournament, we can now have a big tournament in Indonesia, so I think it can be a big help for developing Asian countries in regards to women’s golf.”