‘Who’s the little kid on the range’: This US 15-year-old golfer is making history – and then some

Most typical 15-year-olds would be worried about their grades or the intricacies of social life as a teenager.

But Miles Russell is no ordinary 15-year-old. He spent his weekend worrying about making the cut at a professional golf event and setting records against seasoned veterans at the LECOM Suncoast Classic.

On Friday, he became youngest player to make a cut on the Korn Ferry Tour – the PGA Tour’s developmental tour – at 15 years, 5 months and 18 days, breaking the previous record set by Gipper Finau at the 2006 Utah Championship.

Just qualifying for the weekend was quite the achievement, but Russell wasn’t done yet.

He carded a one-under 70 in Saturday’s third round at Lakewood National Golf Club’s Commander course before finishing with an excellent final-round, five-under 66 which included seven birdies in a 10-hole stretch.

With that late flurry, the Jacksonville Beach native finished tied-20th at 14-under for the tournament.

In doing so, high school freshman Russell became the youngest player on record (since 1983) to notch a top-25 finish on the PGA Tour or the Korn Ferry Tour.

“It was an awesome week. It was a blast,” Russell said afterwards. “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.

Russell carded seven birdies in his final round at the LECOM Suncoast Classic. - Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images
Russell carded seven birdies in his final round at the LECOM Suncoast Classic. - Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images

“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.”

With his top-25 finish, Russell qualifies for the Korn Ferry Tour’s Veritex Bank Championship at Texas Rangers Golf Club in Arlington this week.

Before turning 18, players are not eligible for non-member Korn Ferry Tour Points toward Special Temporary Membership. Therefore, he cannot join the tour full-time for another few years but can continue to participate if the results qualify him to do so.

As the youngest player at the tournament by far, there was plenty of pressure on Russell throughout.

But he played with the poise of a player twice his age, seemingly unbothered by the additional attention.

Even when he had a rocky start to his third round – he was four-over on the day after three holes – he was able to recover and finish strongly.

“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 – who is the top-ranked boys prospect by the American Junior Golf Association – said. “But good play is always good, and [it’s] definitely confidence-boosting to finish where we’re going to finish today.”

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