15-year-old Miles Russell is T-26 halfway through his Korn Ferry Tour debut
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15-year-old Miles Russell is T-26 halfway through his Korn Ferry Tour debut

A photo of Miles Russell

A 15-year-old prodigy is making a statement this week on the Korn Ferry Tour, and he's earned two more rounds to make even more noise.

Miles Russell made his official debut on the Korn Ferry Tour this week in the LECOM Suncoast Classic in Lakewood Ranch, Fla. After opening on Thursday with 3-under 68 at Lakewood National Golf Club’s Commander Course, the top-ranked boys player on the American Junior Golf Association rankings followed up with 5-under 66 to reach the weekend on 8-under 134.

In his Friday second round, Russell made a pair of front-nine eagles, including on the 282-yard, par-4 fourth and 563-yard, par-5 ninth. He made two birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before dropping his only shot of the round at the 13th hole. He made pars into the house to make the cut and sit tied for 26th place after two rounds.

"The goal was to make the cut and kind of see where that could go if I did, see how it goes this weekend," Russell said after the round.

Brandon Crick leads the tournament on 14-under 128 total through two rounds, with former PGA Tour player Morgan Hoffmann in second and a shot back of the lead.

By making the cut, Russell becomes the youngest player to make the cut in a Korn Ferry Tour event. Guan Tian Liang made the cut in the 2013 Masters and 2013 Zurich Classic of New Orleans at the age of 14 to be the youngest player to make a cut on the PGA Tour on record, dating back to 1983.

"I knew it was going to be a good test to see where I am against some of the best," said Russell. "It's definitely something I'll remember even when times will get hard, I'll remember it when that happens and go with the flow."

Last season, Russell, who calls Jacksonville Beach, Fla., home, became the youngest winner of the AJGA's Boys Junior Player of the Year award. He won the Junior PGA Championship and the Junior Players in a big, three-win 2023 AJGA season.

While Russell, who took up golf at the age of 2, is an amateur and ineligible to make money this weekend from the tournament's $1 million purse, he does have plenty to play for in the final two rounds. If Russell finishes in the top 25 and ties in the final leaderboard for the LECOM Suncoast Classic, Russell will gain entry to next week's Veritex Bank Championship in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Russell cannot earn non-member Korn Ferry Tour points that would count toward Korn Ferry Tour Special Temporary Membership, however, as the minimum age for membership is 18.

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