Golf’s history-making schoolboy: The hectic double-life of 15-year-old Ratchanon ‘TK’ Chantananuwat

ratchanon Chantananuwat video card 1
Meet 15-year-old golfing record breaker Ratchanon 'TK' Chantananuwat
04:28 - Source: CNN
CNN  — 

Like most 15-year-olds, Ratchanon “TK” Chantananuwat thinks about school, exams, and college plans.

But Ratchanon is not like most kids his age – he’s already a history-making amateur golfer competing against some of the game’s best professionals.

In April – five weeks on from his 15th birthday – he made international headlines when he became the youngest male player to win on a major Tour, claiming the $750,000 Trust Golf Asian Mixed Cup in his native Thailand.

This month, he is studying for important biology and economics exams, a stress he’s had to juggle with representing his country at the 31st Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, in Vietnam.

It’s a balancing act of daunting proportions, but an unfazed Ratchanon has a point to prove.

“It gets a little bit hard sometimes, but I enjoy the challenge,” he told CNN. “I love to do well in both and prove all the doubters wrong.

“Apparently if you’re an athlete, you can’t do good in school. I’m trying to change that.”

Victory on the Asian Tour marked a new high-point in the fledgling career of one of the sport’s brightest young stars. Ratchanon has enjoyed a sensational rise since – aged just 13 years and four months – he became the youngest player to make the cut in the history of the All Thailand Golf Tour, in August 2020.

And incredibly, he came agonizingly close to winning an Asian Tour event even sooner, finishing third in his first international pro event at the Singapore International in January.

Origin story

Ratchanon’s golfing origin story reads like a comic book. Having begun playing with plastic clubs and balls at the age of three, TK – a nickname twinning his parent’s initials – finished last in his first to