With the new LET season just a few weeks away, we reflect on some of the players who have presented themselves as emerging stars of the future in 2021.
In her first full season on tour, Thailand’s Atthaya Thitikul put on a dominant performance on the LET. The 18-year-old won two LET titles in her home country while still an amateur and in her freshman year as a professional, she proved to be one of the most consistent individuals on tour.
Thitikul added two more LET titles to her awards after winning the Tipsport Cezch Ladies Open and VP Bank Swiss Ladies Open. It was not just the victories that made the teenager’s shares rise, it was the way she completed her season. The four-time LET winner only finished outside the top six on three occasions in individual competitions.
While also performing against the biggest stars, she finished fifth at The Amundi Evian Championship, fourth at the ISPS Handa World Invitational, tied for second at the Women’s Scottish Open and second at Saudi Ladies International . Thanks to her excellent performances, Thitikul rushed to the Race to Costa del Sol, Newcomer of the Year and Players’ Player of the Year titles, as well as to no. 18 on the Rolex World Golf Golf Rankings for Women.
Next on the list is Pia Babnik from Slovenia, who became a professional at the age of 16 and secured LET status in the final stage of the qualifying school in January 2020. After a second season on tour, the young star has proven that she is someone to watch in the future. when she secured her first LET victory in the third event of the 2021 season – the Jabra Ladies Open.
Babnik was then the youngest golfer to take part in the Olympics, as she played in postponed Games in Tokyo, where she finished 34th.ste. After returning to the LET, the 17-year-old started to find her form again with second place at the Estrella Damm Ladies Open and T4 at the Aramco team series – New York.
In the penultimate event of the year, Babnik won the Aramco Team Series – Jeddah individual title to climb to second place in the Race to Costa del Sol and confirm her status as an emerging star. With two victories behind her name, what will 2022 mean for the now 18-year-old?
Another rising star who burst onto the scene in 2021 is Sweden’s Maja Stark who started the year as an amateur and ended the year with three professional victories – two of which were on the LET. After playing in the Scandinavian Mixed while still an amateur, Stark completed T18 and showed she can compete with the best.
After becoming a professional this summer, the 23-year-old won on her home track on the LET Access Series to secure her first title and then played on the LET. Back-to-back tournaments in Sweden gave the Stark a chance to show what she’s made of, and she came out on top in the Creekhouse Ladies Open.
Two LET events later and the Swede was back in the winner’s circle at the Estrella Damm Ladies Open. Stark also finished second in the season finale to see her sixth in the Race to Costa del Sol after playing just six items. With such an excellent start to her LET career, the former PING Junior Solheim Cup player will try to continue where she left off last season.
The last rising star is France’s Pauline Roussin-Bouchard, who followed a similar trajectory as Stark only became a professional in the middle of the year. The 22-year-old is the former number one on the World Amateur Golf Rankings and has made an excellent start to professional life.
At the Didriksons Sakfto Open in August, Roussin-Bouchard won by rounds of 68 (-1), 60 (-9) and 69 (-1) to win her first LET title and record membership. A few weeks later, the former USC player completed T3 at the Lacoste Ladies Open De France and finished her LET season with T7 at the Aramco Team Series – New York.
Roussin-Bouchard then showed what she was made of on the other side of the Atlantic, by winning Phase II of the LPGA Q Series and eventually finishing second in the Final Stage to secure her LPGA Tour card for 2022. With events around the world, the French will hope there are great things to look forward to this year.