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Thitikul wins World Junior Girls title, Korea top team
Atthaya Thitikul (Golf Canada photo)
Atthaya Thitikul (Golf Canada photo)

Canadian golf fans should take good note of Atthaya Thitikul’s name, as they will surely hear it mentioned again in the same breath as the game’s best female players. She is that good. And on Friday, her poise and talent were in evidence at Angus Glen Golf Club of Markham, Ontario, where she claimed her second consecutive World Junior Girls Championship title by two strokes over Ye Won Lee of the Republic of Korea.

In the team competition, it is the Republic of Korea that claimed the gold medal, their second World Junior Girls title after winning it in 2015 at The Marshes GC of Ottawa. After rallying to take the lead following Thursday’s weather delay, the Korean team never looked back. They registered an aggregate score of 3-under (141) in the final round to take the laurels. After claiming bronze at Camelot Golf Club in 2018, Thailand upgraded its 2019 haul by winning silver, while last year’s champions Italy finished third to earn the bronze medal.

“It’s very, very nice to win. I’m so happy now. But I’m a little disappointed that I couldn’t catch the (girl in) first place. But only ten percent disappointed (laughs),” said team gold and individual silver medalist Ye Won Lee.

The 2019 gold is Korea’s fourth World Junior Girls Championship medal in only five participations in the event, a tournament record.

In the individual contest, Thitikul managed to keep her playing partners at bay on the front nine, taking a stroke back from the silver medallist, Republic of Korea’s Ye Won Lee, thanks to three birdies against only one bogey. Despite committing two more bogeys on the back nine and briefly finding herself only one stroke up, Thitikul, who fired a final round of 70 (-2), scored a superb eagle on the par-5 16th hole which Ye Won Lee couldn’t match, albeit adding a birdie of her own to the score card.

When asked how important that shot was to her victory, Thitikul declared that “It helped me a lot, you know. When I putt it, in mind I was like ‘Yes! I will get this.’ It made me feel more confident when walking to the 18th hole.”

Italy’s Alessia Nobilio, an individual silver medallist in both 2017 and 2018, shot 71 in the final round to finish the tournament at 6-under, in third place. She is now the World Junior Girls most decorated competitor in tournament history with three individual and two team medals.

As the organizing federation, Canada delegated two teams to participate in the Championship.

Canada 1, consisting of Brooke Rivers (Brampton, Ont.), Euna Han (Coquitlam, B.C.) and Emily Zhu (Richmond Hill, Ont.) had a strong finish to the tourney, posting their first negative team score of the week (-2) which allowed them to climb to 7th in a tie with Switzerland. Canada 2, composed of Lauren Kim and Angela Arora of Surrey, B.C., with Ellie Szeryk (London, Ont.), scored plus +7 and dropped to 19th, ahead of Ireland.

The 2019 World Junior Girls Championship was conducted by Golf Canada in partnership with Golf Ontario and supported by the R&A and the International Golf Federation. Recognized as an “A” ranked event by the World Amateur Golf Rankings, the seventh edition of the World Junior Girls Championship will be presented at Angus Glen Golf Club in 2020.

ABOUT THE World Junior Girls

First played in 2014, the World Junior Girls Championship features 16 three person teams (two from host Canada). Each team plays a 72-holes of stroke-play and at the end of the final round there are team and individual champions.

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