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  • Writer's picturePiers Manktelow

Why Mariajo Uribe, Atthaya Thitikul & Flic Johnson gave me a great British Open experience

Updated: Aug 6, 2019

If you ever get to come to an event like the British Open which has some of the best players in the world, I highly recommend finding a group that tees of late and following them around. The crowds have dispersed and you can really form an emotional attachment to their story, be it if they are fighting to make the cut or pushing near the top of the leaderboard, every player is going though their own battle.

I was pleased to see that 2 of my favorite players to watch were paired together for the first 2 rounds of this years British Open.

Mariajo Uribe from Colombia and 16 year old Thai amateur Atthaya Thitikul. I have a personal affiliation with Colombia having spent a great deal of time there in the past and love watching their sports teams due to the passion shown. Uribe, is no different. If you get a chance to watch her she may not be the number 1 ranked player in the world but you become emotionally invested in her journey due to her sheer passion.

In a golf world that is becoming more robotic (not so much on the women's side) it is a joy to watch a player with a big personality. It was even more exciting on Saturday night as she was right on the cut line after a double bogey on 14 ( a nemesis hole for her).

She will talk to every ball, dances around after near putts and on tee boxes discusses loudly what her plan is for the hole. She is also great with her fans. Luckily she made par on 18 to sneak the cut by 1 shot and head into the weekend. She should be back next year, so if you are looking for someone to follow go and watch Uribe, she wont disappoint.

Playing alongside her was Atthaya Thitikul from Thailand, who at the age of 16, is the best amateur in the world in my mind and has already won 2 LET events. She won one this year and the other at the age of 14! You would think a 16 year old would either be shy or slightly arrogant of her position. Thitikul, is neither and perhaps demonstrates one of the best personalities on tour. If you watched her she looks mature beyond her years. She is a joy to watch, always smiling and laughing with her caddie and interacting with the crowd. She is the latest in a line of Thai players set to take the world by storm. She showed that again here this week winning the leading amateur prize for the 2nd year in a row, the big question is when will she turn pro? My aim next year would be to make it to Thailand to see the LET event there and try and discover more how the young Thai golfers train to understand why there is such a hot bed of talent there.

On a final note it was a joy to watch LET player Felicity Johnson, it was even better to see her make the cut for the first time in 13 years as a pro golfer, she gives so much back to the game and had lots of local support out there this week. Everybody I bumped into watching her had only great stories to tell me about the time they had met her.

These are the stories that may be forgotten when the winner has been announced but they are great memories for both fans and players a like. All 3 players had plenty of time for fans as well, which is great to see.

If your lucky enough to come to an Open or any event, remember every player has their own story going on so in every group you will easily find an emotional connection and you be willing them on to play well.

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