Teenage phenom Miles Russell breaks down his historic Korn Ferry Tour debut

If you’re not yet familiar with the name Miles Russell, here’s a quick intro: He’s the youngest player ever to be named AJGA Player of the Year, and recently became the youngest player ever to make a cut on the Korn Ferry Tour. Whew!

Russell is 15 years old — a high school freshman! — and teed it up at the Korn Ferry Tour’s Suncoast Classic as a sponsor’s exemption. Russell not only made the cut in historic fashion, but also ended up finishing T20. What was it like to make such a memorable Korn Ferry Tour debut? Russell told Subpar hosts Colt Knost and Drew Stoltz all about it on this week’s episode.

miles russell swings during the 2024 lecom suncoast classic
15-year-old dazzles on Korn Ferry Tour in record-breaking performance
By: Zephyr Melton

“Everybody’s big,” Russell said. “There’s not many people your size. It’s very serious. There’s not much goofing off going on, and everybody’s on the putting green doing their own drills. Everybody has Trackman on the range, and normally has one or two people with them working on stuff.

“It’s definitely a little different than what you’d see on an AGJA range.”

Russell took the heightened atmosphere in stride, firing an opening round of 68 that featured five birdies and two bogeys. Russell’s play was so confident, in fact, that he opted to chip from the green on the 1st hole at Lakewood National Golf Club in Florida, which was his 10th of the day.

“I hit that same putt in the practice round to where that pin was, and I mean, I got this thing up to the back fringe and it started coming back at me,” Russell explained. “I’m like, there’s no way this is gonna get down there. I ended up 70 feet away in the practice round. So I was walking up [with] my coach Ramon [Bescansa], I’m like, we’re gonna have to chip this. I hit this putt in the practice round and I didn’t get anywhere close. He’s like, OK, we’ll see.

“And I’m like, no, we’re going to have to chip this. And I grabbed the wedge and he grabbed the putter out of the bag and [I’m] looking at him, like, I have to chip it. There’s no way to get it close with a putter,” Russell continued. “He was trying to give me a tactic, this little, like, spin it up against the ridge and have it kind of just trickle down. The hill is too big to do that. I’m just gonna throw one up past it, try to get the check and use the backstop, and I was able to do that.”

The result? A tidy up-and-down for par. Russell went on to post rounds of 66-70-66 to make Korn Ferry history — and he even received a congratulatory tweet from Phil Mickelson.

For more from Russell, including what it was like to chat with Scottie Scheffler at the Players Championship, check out the full interview below.

Golf.com Editor

As a four-year member of Columbia’s inaugural class of female varsity golfers, Jessica can out-birdie everyone on the masthead. She can out-hustle them in the office, too, where she’s primarily responsible for producing both print and online features, and overseeing major special projects, such as GOLF’s inaugural Style Is­sue, which debuted in February 2018. Her origi­nal interview series, “A Round With,” debuted in November of 2015, and appeared in both in the magazine and in video form on GOLF.com.