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Junior Golf

High school freshman claims one of junior golf's biggest honors, breaks a 32-year-old Tiger Woods record to do it

November 02, 2023
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At 15 years old, Miles Russell is the youngest boy to ever win the AJGA's Rolex Player of the Year award, breaking the mark previously set by Tiger Woods in 1991. (Photo courtesy of the AJGA)

Breaking records is always fun. Breaking records previously held by Tiger Woods, well that’s more than fun. It’s humbling.

On Wednesday, Miles Russell celebrated his 15th birthday. On Thursday, he was named the American Junior Golf Association’s Rolex Boys Player of the Year, topping Tiger Woods’ mark as the youngest winner of the honor given out by the prestigious junior association every year since 1979. In 1991, when Woods claimed the award for the first of two consecutive years, he was 15 years, 10 months and two days old.

Russell’s résumé in 2023 was indeed impressive with four wins in eight national junior tournaments. The high school freshman from Jacksonville Beach, Fla., became the youngest winner of the Junior Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass in September after winning the Boy’s Junior PGA Championship in August.

While Russell is the youngest boy to win the title, he’s not the youngest winner ever. Three times a 14 year old has won Girls honor. Inbee Park was the youngest ever, winning when she was 14 years, four months and 21 days old in 2022.

Joining Russell in getting the ultimate recognition for her year-long performance is Yana Wilson, the winner of the Rolex Girls POY award. The 17-year-old from Henderson, Nev., is set to play college golf next year at the University of Oregon. This past summer, Wilson won the junior title at the LPGA’s Mizuho Americas Open (the event Rose Zhang claimed her first pro title). Wilson also won the AJGA Girls Invitational and had either second or third place finishes in four other significant national events. This comes a year after she claimed the U.S. Girls’ Junior Amateur title. She’s also previously won her age group twice at the Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals at Augusta National.

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Low amateur Yana Wilson (L) and Rose Zhang pose for a “selfie” with their winning trophies after the final round of the Mizuho Americas Open at Liberty National Golf Club in June.

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Wilson’s profile as a junior golfer has garnered the attention of various business interested in signing her to NIL deals. Last month she partnered with Transcend Capital Advisors after having worked previously with Nike, TaylorMade and Polo Ralph Lauren. She has signed with WME Sports to help handle her representation on the NIL front.

Russell and Wilson will be formally honored for the achievement during the Rolex Junior All-America Awards Banquet on Nov. 18 at San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa. The dinner recognizes the accomplishments of those who earned spots on the Rolex Junior All-America teams and other year-long awards, and precedes the Rolex Tournament of Champions event held at TPC San Antonio Nov. 18-22.