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15(!)-year-old shoots front-nine 31(!!) in Korn Ferry Tour debut

April 18, 2024
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Miles Russell tees off during the Day 3 of the 2023 Junior Ryder Cup.

Valerio Pennicino

As the old saying goes, the kids are alright. But that phrase doesn't do one particularly precocious golfer justice.

If you've followed the junior golf circuit over the past couple years at all, you've probably heard the name Miles Russell. If you haven't, this is name golf fans might want to learn. Quickly.

That's because Miles is not your normal 15-year-old. He's the reigning AJGA Player of the Year. He signed an NIL deal with Transcend Capital Advisors last fall. And on Thursday, he put forth a pretty darn special debut on the Korn Ferry Tour.

Playing in the LECOM Suncoast Classic, Russell shot a front-nine 31 to place himself among the early leaders at Lakewood National Golf Club in Lakewood Ranch, Florida. That's right, the 15-year-old needed only 31 strokes to complete his opening nine holes in his first PGA Tour-sanctioned event.

Russell cooled off on the back nine with a 37, but the lefty still recorded a three-under-par 68. He's six shots behind first-round leader Mason Andersen.

Then again, we shouldn't be too surprised. Not only did he win the Junior Players Championship last year, but he also shot a second-round 66 at TPC Sawgrass. And he won the Junior PGA Championship by seven shots before playing in the Junior Ryder Cup in September.

Still, doing it against adult tour pros is different.

“I don’t know what to expect, but I’d love to make the cut and who knows, maybe have a good weekend and see where it puts me,” Russell told PGATour.com on Tuesday.

Good start, young man. Good start.