Titiya Plucksataporn will celebrate a career milestone this week when she plays in her 200th LET tournament at the Ladies European Thailand Championship in Pattaya.
Now 34, the Bangkok golfer was 22 when the LET last visited her home country for the 2005 Thailand Ladies Open, in which she finished ninth, playing as an amateur. When Australian Shani Waugh won the play-off against Gwladys Nocera at Alpine Golf & Country Club in Bangkok, Titiya had just finished a degree in politics and was planning to join her father in running the family business, Titan Cabling.
Had the LET not visited her home city, she may have continued in the electrical wire and cabling industry, but she was so inspired by the whole experience that she immediately turned her attentions to becoming a professional golfer.
“After that tournament, I went onto the internet to see how it worked and how to join the LET through Q-school. That year, I went to Q-school for both the Ladies European Tour and the Futures Tour in the USA, (now named the Symetra Tour), and I earned both cards, but I chose to play in Europe,” she says, smiling.
“It was very tough for me in the first year, as I could not speak English and I didn’t know anything, such as how to book hotels or how to enter tournaments, but everything is much easier now! I met LET player Laurette Maritz and her caddie Reeve Nield in Switzerland, who helped me out with booking flights and hotels and they showed me how to survive on tour!”
Plucksataporn was the first Thai player to join the LET in 2006 and over the last 12 years, she has played in 199 tournaments, posted 13 top ten finishes and experienced playing on every type of golf course, in all weather conditions, including two Ricoh Women’s British Opens, at Turnberry and Birkdale. A winner of two tournaments on the LPGA of Taiwan and one on the China LPGA Tour, Titiya is yet to win on the LET, but says that her aim is another top-ten finish this week at Phoenix Gold Golf & Country Club.
“We have a good standard on the LET and every part of your game has to be in order, because the competition is tough. It’s good to compete and raise your level. In Thailand, all the courses are parkland layouts but in Europe, every week, you play on a different golf course and you have to play a variety of tee shots. Some are links courses, some parkland. You have to play low ball, high ball and shape the shots and develop your game,” she continued.
“I think the weather in Europe is very nice, because in Thailand, it is very hot, but in places like Spain, you have a cool breeze, fresh air and no traffic! However, I also love playing in my own country.”
Since 2005, Thailand has produced a procession of world class golfers, including Nontaya Srisawang, Pornanong Phatlum, Thidapa Suwannapura, Supamas Sangchan and Ariya Jutanugarn, the 2016 Ricoh Women’s British Open champion who held the world number one spot last month.
Titiya believes that the Ladies European Thailand Championship will help to unearth the next generation of top-level Thai players. “I think we have a lot of good players from Thailand, who play all over the world on the LPGA, LPGA or Japan and Thai tours. They are tough and I think that a Thai player could win the tournament this week.”
If that Thai golfer happens to be Titiya, then there would be double cause for celebration.