It’s not often that an LPGA rookie rises to No. 1 in the world, but Atthaya Thitikul proved to be a special player last season. Will anyone be able to make such a strong showing in 2023?
This year’s rookie class is once again highly global. In fact, an American hasn’t won the Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year Award since Paula Creamer in 2005.
There are, however, a couple of American hotshots who made headlines before they graduated from elementary school in the 2023 rookie class. Could Lucy Li or Alexa Pano break that drought?
Here are a dozen LPGA rookies to keep an eye on in 2023:
Lucy Li made headlines when she competed in the 2014 U.S. Women’s Open at Pinehurst, and now she’s finally made it to the big show. The 20-year-old won twice on the Epson Tour and tied for 16th at the 2022 U.S. Women’s Open at Pine Needles. Li led the Epson Tour in scoring at 69.389 and finished T-4 at the LPGA’s Dana Open.
South Korea’s Hae Ran Ryu took medalist honors at LPGA Q-Series, finishing at 29 under. The KLPGA player came into the event ranked 50th in the world and broke 70 in six of the eight rounds. The 21-year-old was the 2020 KLPGA Rookie of the Year and 2018 Korean Women’s Amateur champion.
Alexa Pano, 18, finished tied for 21st at LPGA Q-Series to earn her card. The former Netflix star, known for her role in the documentary, “The Short Game,” became the youngest golfer (age 11) to play a JLPGA Tour event at the 2016 Yonex Ladies Open. Pano made the cut in 16 of 18 starts on the Epson Tour with five top-10 finishes last season.