Atthaya Thitikul, 19, who has had plenty of reasons to smile this season, added one more when she was named LPGA rookie of the year. Photo: Donald Miralle, Getty Images
BELLEAIR, FLORIDA | Atthaya Thitikul, the 19-year-old phenom and current No. 1 player in the Rolex Rankings, walked into player dining at Pelican Golf Club on Tuesday like a pro-am contestant taking a day off from work. She smiled and said hello to everyone in sight, thanking the uniformed security guards at the door, and asking the service staff at the buffet line how their week was going so far. The youngster might not be all that well known, even among golf fans, but with charisma to burn, she’s a sports superstar in the making.
She also has a new award, one many assumed was coming but became official today. Thitikul, who goes by her nickname Jeeno (pronounced Gino), was in a pitched battle with Hye-Jin Choi for the Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year award heading into the Pelican Women’s...
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