Thailand’s Atthaya Thitikul capped an impressive first season with third place in the Ladies European Tour’s season finale – the Andalucía Costa del Sol Open de España – to win the 2021 Race to Costa del Sol by 1,638.07 points.

In what has been a remarkable first season on Tour, the 18-year-old had a stellar record on the golf course only finishing outside the top six in individual events on three occasions.

Following in the footsteps of Dame Laura Davies, Carlota Ciganda and Esther Henseleit – the Thai talent becomes the fourth player to win both the Race to Costa del Sol and Rookie of the Year titles in the same season.

Thitikul also became the youngest winner of the accolade surpassing Charley Hull’s previous record and was delighted to be able to play in the Costa del Sol region last week.

“It is a pleasure to have been able to play in the Costa del Sol region this week as the 2021 Race to Costa del Sol champion. It means the world to me,” said the teenager.

“I am honoured to have won this title in my first full season on the Ladies European Tour and I would like to thank the Costa del Sol Tourist Board for their support.”

The rising star clinched the Race to Costa del Sol crown off the back of her second-place finish at the Aramco Saudi Ladies International but added more points to her tally with a T6 finish at the Aramco Team Series – Jeddah and third place in Spain last week to finish with a total of 3,591.96 points.

The 18-year-old has amassed two further LET titles this year winning at the Tipsport Czech Ladies Open and VP Bank Swiss Ladies Open, adding to the two titles at the Ladies European Thailand Championship in 2017 and 2019 that she won while still an amateur.

And after not being on Tour in 2020 because of the Covid-19 pandemic, Thitikul is delighted with the year she has had.

“It has been a rollercoaster of a year because I didn’t play in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. All the hard work I put in last year has paid off,” said Thitikul.

“At the beginning of the year, I was scared to see what the conditions were going to be on the golf courses and how the grass plays and if I was going to be able to handle it. My coach told me to have the confidence in yourself when you’re out there. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose and sometimes you learn from it.”

One particular highlight for the young star, who has risen from 308 to 22 in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings, was her T2 finish at the Trust Golf Women’s Scottish Open.

She continued: “I’m really proud of myself for the second-place finish on a links course in Scotland, while my wins in Switzerland and Czech were similar conditions to Thailand.”

With her first full LET season complete, the teenager now heads to the United States to the final stage of LPGA Q-Series where she will try to secure her LPGA Tour card.

And despite having added to her already impressive accolades this year, Thitikul believes this just is the beginning and she is striving to keep improving.

“It is really amazing for me this year. People might say I’m successful already, but this is only the start. My goal is to get better every single day, I don’t want to just win tournaments, I want to get better in my game. You win the tournaments, but you still need to improve,” she added.

The President of the Costa del Sol Tourist Board, Francisco Salado, congratulated Atthaya Thitikul on her triumph as the winner of Race to Costa del Sol, the culmination of the Ladies European Tour annual schedule. He stated: “This partnership with the LET, and the involvement of the destination in the different international events of the order of merit of the Ladies European Tour is extremely rewarding. It is also a clear indication of our support of women’s golf, both at a professional, and amateur level. The Race to Costa del Sol guarantees extensive television and media coverage in markets of particular interest to our destination, which have a high percentage of women golfers, such as Germany, Switzerland, France, U.S.A., Canada, Asia.

“The Costa del Sol Tourist Board has, for many years, promoted the Costa del Golf as the ideal golfing destination and we shall continue to do so. Together with the golf industry, we provide personalised service, carefully adapted to each visitor’s needs, ensuring the perfect holiday experience, at any time of the year.”

In addition, the president declared that: “The Costa del Sol has no doubt that the promotion of women’s golf is especially important, given that it is often the lady golfer who spends more in destination, appreciating, and enjoying to the full, all the different attractions that Costa del Sol provides.”

Alexandra Armas, Ladies European Tour, CEO said: “Atthaya is a deserving winner of the 2021 Race to Costa del Sol title and we are delighted to present her with the award. She has proved to be the model of consistency in her first full season on Tour and this title is further reward for the hard work she has put in to become a champion. I would like to thank the Costa del Sol Tourist Board for their unwavering support, and we are looking forward to the 2022 season already.”

For more news and information on the Race to Costa del Sol, check out the full final rankings HERE.