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15-Year-Old Miles Russell To Make PGA TOUR Debut as Sponsor Exemption at Rocket Mortgage Classic

·       New commitments include top-40 players Chris Kirk, Min Woo Lee and Nicolai Højgaard, major championship winners Francesco Molinari and Webb Simpson, and 20-year-old rookie Nick Dunlap


·       Rocket Mortgage Classic returns to Detroit Golf Club for the sixth year June 25-30; Daily grounds tickets and hospitality passes are available now at RocketMortgageClassic.com 


DETROIT (June 3, 2024) – Miles Russell, the 15-year-old amateur who is among the most decorated players in junior golf, will make his PGA TOUR debut this month as a sponsor exemption at the Rocket Mortgage Classic, the tournament announced today.


Detroit’s annual PGA TOUR event will be held for the sixth consecutive year at Detroit Golf Club from June 25-30.


“The Rocket Mortgage Classic is known as a tournament where ‘future stars start,’ and we’re thrilled to have Miles make his PGA TOUR debut here and add to that legacy,” said Jason Langwell, Executive Director of the Rocket Mortgage Classic. “He has proved with his many accomplishments at such a young age that he belongs, and we are excited to see Miles compete alongside the world’s best golfers here at Detroit Golf Club.”


Added Russell: “I am thankful to Rocket Mortgage for giving me the opportunity to make my PGA TOUR debut at the Rocket Mortgage Classic. Ever since I first started playing golf, my dream has been to compete on the PGA TOUR and test my game against the best players, and I’m looking forward to making the most of the experience later this month.”


Russell will be among the youngest players ever to make their debut on the PGA TOUR. The record belongs to Michelle Wie West, who was granted a sponsor exemption to play in the 2004 Sony Open in Hawaii at the age of 14 years, three months and four days, and also became the fourth woman to play a TOUR event. Guan Tianlang (2013 Masters), Andy Zhang (2012 U.S. Open) and Lorens Chan (2009 Sony Open in Hawaii) also debuted at 14 years old. Other 15-year-olds to play TOUR events have included Oliver Betschart (2023 Butterfield Bermuda Championship), John Oda (2012 Sony Open), Tadd Fujikawa (2006 U.S. Open) and Bob Pasanik (1957 Canadian Open).


Two other teenagers have debuted on the PGA TOUR this year, as 16-year-old Kris Kim became the fifth youngest player to make the cut in a TOUR event with his performance at the at THE CJ Cup Byron Nelson in May and 16-year-old Blades Brown competed in the Myrtle Beach Classic the following week.


Russell, a high school freshman from Jacksonville, Florida, became the youngest player to make the cut in the 35-year history of the developmental Korn Ferry Tour in April, when he finished 20th at the LECOM Suncoast Classic.


In 2023, Russell became the youngest player to be named the American Junior Golf Association Player of the Year (supplanting Tiger Woods). He won the Junior PGA Championship and the Junior Players Championship in September, becoming the youngest champion of both events and earning a spot on the U.S. Junior Ryder Cup Team. He was also named to the first USGA Junior National team.


“We are incredibly excited to welcome Miles Russell to the Rocket Mortgage Classic as a sponsor exemption,” said Casey Hurbis, SVP of Brand Experiences and Strategic Partnerships at Rocket Mortgage. “Miles exemplifies the future of golf, and our tournament is the perfect stage for young talent to shine. Detroit is a place where dreams are made, and we can’t wait to welcome him and other world-class golfers to our amazing hometown.”


The Rocket Mortgage Classic also announced several additional top players have committed to the tournament, joining previous commitments Will Zalatoris, Tom Kim and defending champion Rickie Fowler:


·       Chris Kirk – 28th in the Official World Golf Ranking, he won The Sentry in January for his sixth career PGA TOUR victory. He finished T-14 at last year’s Rocket Mortgage Classic, shooting four rounds in the 60s.

·       Min Woo Lee – Ranked 35th in the world, the 25-year-old Australian owns four international victories and had four top-10 finishes in 14 PGA TOUR events last season.

·       Nicolai Højgaard – The 23-year-old native of Denmark made his Ryder Cup debut for Team Europe last year and won the DP World Tour Championship. Currently 40th in the world ranking, he finished T-21 in his Rocket Mortgage Classic debut last year.

·       Francesco Molinari – Winner of the 2018 Open Championship, he also won the final Quicken Loans National just three weeks before his two-stoke victory at Carnoustie. 

·       Webb Simpson – The 2012 U.S. Open champion owns seven career PGA TOUR titles.

·       Nick Dunlap – The 20-year-old rookie became the first amateur to win on the PGA TOUR in 33 years when he captured The American Express as a sponsor exemption in January. The reigning U.S. Amateur champion turned pro the following week and will make his Rocket Mortgage Classic debut.


Daily grounds tickets and passes to shared hospitality venues are now on sale at RocketMortgageClassic.com. Grounds tickets start at $65 per day, with LendingTree Lounge passes beginning at $120 and Club Ace presented by Bell’s Brewing passes starting at $250.


Since 2019, the Rocket Mortgage Classic has invested more than $8.4 million into local charitable organizations, including $4.3 million in contributions to the event’s landmark “Changing the Course” initiative to connect Detroit residents to high-speed internet, digital devices and digital literacy training.


Since Changing the Course launched in 2020, Detroit has grown from being the least connected large city in America to one with a nationally recognized digital inclusion model that is making an impact. More than 162,000 residents have been connected to the Affordable Connectivity Program, and 22 Technology Hubs with 352 workstations have served more than 29,000 residents across Detroit’s seven districts. Additionally, more than 77,000 devices have been distributed to the Detroit community.


In addition to its monetary investments to bridge the digital divide in the city, the Rocket Mortgage Classic was honored in 2023 for the second time with the PGA TOUR’s Fair Way Award, recognizing the tournament that excels in diversity, inclusion and social responsibility programs that promote equity, fairness, respect and openness in its community. Whether it be by fostering a tournament culture of inclusiveness, partnering with diverse charitable partners or community engagement around under-represented and under-served groups, the award highlights the best moments, gestures, and programs that align with the PGA TOUR’s diversity, equity and inclusion mission.




About the Rocket Mortgage Classic 

The Rocket Mortgage Classic made history in 2019 as the first PGA TOUR event ever held in the city of Detroit, and has continued to make a positive and lasting impact on the city and its residents through its multi-year “Changing the Course” campaign, established in 2020 to end the digital divide in Detroit and ensure digital accessibility for all city residents. The Rocket Mortgage Classic was the most awarded event during the 2018-19 PGA TOUR season, being recognized for “Best Special Event” (then known as the AREA 313 Celebrity Challenge) and “Best Tournament Sales” as well as being honored with the first “Fair Way Award” for its diversity and inclusion initiatives. The Fair Way Award was bestowed upon the Rocket Mortgage Classic for a second time in 2023. More information is available at RocketMortgageClassic.com and on Facebook, X and Instagram (@RocketClassic).


About Rocket Mortgage

Detroit-based Rocket Mortgage is the largest retail mortgage lender and is a part of Rocket Companies (NYSE: RKT).


The lender enables the American Dream of homeownership and financial freedom through its obsession with an industry-leading, digital-driven client experience. In late 2015, it introduced the first fully digital, completely online mortgage experience. Since its founding in 1985, Rocket Mortgage has closed more than $1.7 trillion of mortgage volume across all 50 states.


J.D. Power has ranked Rocket Mortgage #1 in client satisfaction for both primary mortgage origination and servicing 21 times – the most of any mortgage lender. Rocket Companies, Rocket Mortgage’s parent company, has placed in the top third of Fortune’s list of the “100 Best Companies to Work For” the list for 21 consecutive years.


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