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Miles Russell, 15, earns another Korn Ferry Tour start with top-25 finish

3 Min Read



Cards final-round 66 at LECOM Suncoast Classic, youngest to top-25 on record

    Written by Staff @PGATOUR

    After a historic made cut at the LECOM Suncoast Classic, high school freshman Miles Russell could’ve been forgiven for cruising through the weekend, relishing his accomplishment before returning to Earth science, geometry and the standard cadence of life as a high school freshman.

    Russell, 15, had other ideas.

    Russell shook off a slow start Saturday – 4 over through three holes – to grind out a third-round, 1-under 70 at Lakewood National Golf Club’s Commander course, and he turned on the jets with a final-round, 5-under 66 that included seven birdies in a 10-hole stretch (Nos. 4-13). That was good for a T20 finish at 14-under 270, becoming the youngest player on record (since 1983) to notch a top-25 finish on the PGA TOUR or Korn Ferry Tour.

    With the top-25 finish, Russell also qualifies for next week's Veritex Bank Championship in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. (Prior to turning 18, players are not eligible for non-member Korn Ferry Tour Points toward Special Temporary Membership.)

    "It was an awesome week. It was a blast," Russell said afterward. "Especially for my first one, you may get a couple weird looks, like, 'Who's the little kid on the range?' But, you know, everybody was so nice and so helpful with everything.

    "I just try to kind of go with flow and take it as it comes to me, and I'm trying to just stay cool. I was able to hit some good shots in the right moments."

    The Jacksonville Beach, Florida, resident authored history this week as the youngest player to make a cut on the Korn Ferry Tour at 15 years, 5 months, 18 days (surpassing Gipper Finau at the 2006 Utah Championship) and captivated the greater golf world with his combination of youthful firepower (17 birdies, three eagles) and veteran poise. He arrived at Lakewood National with belief in his abilities to compete at this level, a humble confidence that he backed up with four consecutive under-par rounds in competition. Russell shot 31 on his first nine Thursday and kept the pedal down through the weekend, unfazed by the moment as the buzz continued to build.

    Russell, the AJGA's top-ranked junior, cannot join the Korn Ferry Tour this year, or next year, or the year after. But he’s welcome to stay around for a while if the results correspond. Seventy-two holes in west Florida have proven that he’s got the requisite game, here and now.

    Miles Russell, 15, becomes youngest to make cut on Korn Ferry Tour

    Russell advanced to the weekend with ease, opening the LECOM in rounds of 68-66 to finish three strokes inside the 36-hole cut line. His first three holes Saturday represented a test of adversity – a double bogey at No. 1, followed by bogeys at 2 and 3. But the reigning winner of the Junior PLAYERS and Junior PGA Championship remained poised, going bogey-free the rest of the day while adding an eagle and three birdies. It meant that rather than holding a spot near the bottom of the board, he stood T48 into Sunday, three strokes off the pace for a top-25 finish.

    He was within striking distance and he took advantage. It means another week on the Korn Ferry Tour and the valuable experience that accompanies it.

    "When I play well, I think I can compete with some of the better pros, but this week I played well and I think it kind of showed it a little bit," Russell said. "But good play is always good, and definitely confidence-boosting to finish where we're going to finish today."

    Russell was safely inside the top 25 at the time, but plenty of competitors remained on the course who could have bumped him out. His number held up, though, for the first top-25 on record by a player under age 16. Another historical marker for a player too young for a driver's license but whose game is on the road to the Lone Star State.

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