English Club Pro Living American Dream

By Rich LernerAugust 16, 2001, 4:00 pm
Taking a break from the lesson tee where hes in great demand as head professional at Marietta Country Club, 40-year-old Stephen Keppler recalled his first PGA Championship.
It was definitely intimidating, he said of the experience at Riviera in 1995.
Keppler will attempt to make the cut for the first time in four tries at the last major of the year, having missed at Sahallee and Medinah as well as Riviera. His chances would appear to be better than ever. As was the case when he finished third at the 95 BellSouth Classic, Keppler will sleep in his own bed. Plus, hell compete on an Atlanta Athletic Club course hes played at least a dozen times.
In the past Ive played several practice rounds at the site of the PGA the week of the tournament, he explained. And maybe I was a little worn out by the time things started. This week, because I know the course so well, Ill play maybe once and then just chip and putt. Hopefully that will help me make the cut.
There was a brief time when Keppler chased the cut for a living. The middle of three children born in South London, he was naturally athletic but not initially predisposed to golf.
I didnt start getting good until I was 16, he said, adding that like most English youngsters, he played plenty of soccer.
As a junior, Keppler competed against the likes of Colin Montgomerie and Jose Maria Olazabal. He played on the Great Britain and Ireland team in the 1983 Walker Cup alongside the likes of Andrew Oldcorn and against the likes of Brad Faxon. He gained a scholarship to Florida State, where he would meet his future wife, Karen, with whom he now has two children.
After Florida St., Keppler tried to play one year ' 1984 - on the European Tour. But with little success, he decided instead to become a club professional, returning to the States and settling in Atlanta, where his members are as fired up as he is.
One of the members bought like 60 tickets just for Thursday, said Marietta member Gary Krasnov.
Said Keppler, who misses English soccer and yet owns season tickets to Florida St. football, The funny thing is you get into the golf business and you dont play much golf. But the members here have been very supportive and this makes all the long hours really worthwhile.
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Tiger Tracker: Arnold Palmer Invitational

By Tiger TrackerMarch 17, 2018, 3:00 pm

Tiger Woods teed off at 12:15PM ET alongside Justin Rose for Round 3 of the Arnold Palmer Invitational. We're tracking him at Bay Hill.

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Fowler among 5 to skip WGC-Match Play

By Ryan LavnerMarch 17, 2018, 2:24 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. – Five of the top 64 players in the world will skip next week’s WGC-Dell Match Play.

Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Henrik Stenson, Brooks Koepka and Adam Scott all will miss the second WGC event of the year, held next week at Austin Country Club.

As a result, the last man into the field is world No. 69 Luke List. Kevin Na, Charles Howell III, Joost Luiten and Keegan Bradley also got into the field.

Julian Suri and Bill Haas are the first two alternates, if anyone else withdraws from the round-robin-style match-play event.

This is the second year in a row that Rose, Fowler, Stenson and Scott will not play in Austin. Koepka reached the quarterfinals each of the past two years, but he is still recovering from a wrist injury.

The final seeding for the event will be determined after this week’s tournaments. The bracket show is at 7:30 p.m. Monday, live on Golf Channel.

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Korda happy to finally be free of jaw pain

By Randall MellMarch 17, 2018, 2:43 am

PHOENIX – Jessica Korda isn’t as surprised as everyone else that she is playing so well, so quickly, upon her return from a complex and painful offseason surgery.

She is inspired finally getting to play without recurring headaches.

“I’d been in pain for three years,” she said after posting a 4-under-par 68 Friday to move two shots off the lead at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup.

Korda had her upper jaw broken in three places and her low jaw broken in two places in December in a procedure that fixed the alignment of her jaw.

Korda, 25, said the headaches caused by her overbite even affected her personality.

“Affects your moods,” Korda said. “I think I was pretty snappy back then as well.”

She was pretty pleased Friday to give herself a weekend chance at her sixth LPGA title, her second in her last three starts. She won the Honda LPGA Thailand three weeks ago in her first start after returning from surgery.

“I'm much happier now,” Korda said. “Much calmer.”

Even if she still can’t eat the things she would really like to eat. She’s still recuperating. She said the lower part of her face remains numb, and it’s painful to chew crunchy things.

Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

“Chips are totally out of question,” Korda said.

She can eat most things she likes, but she has to cut them into tiny pieces. She can’t wait to be able to eat a steak.

“They broke my palate, so I can't feel anything, even heat,” Korda said. “So that's a bit difficult, because I can't feel any heat on my lip or palate. I don't know how hot things are going in until they hit my throat.”

Korda has 27 screws in her skull holding the realignment together. She needed her family to feed her, bathe her and dress her while she recovered. The procedure changed the way she looks.

While Korda’s ordeal and all that went into her recovery has helped fans relate to her, she said it’s the desire to move on that motivates her.

“Because I was so drugged up, I don't remember a lot of it,” Korda said. “I try to forget a lot of it. I don't think of it like I went through a lot. I just think of it as I'm pain-free. So, yeah, people are like, `Oh, you're so brave, you overcame this and that.’ For me, I'm just going forward.”

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Finally adapted to short putter, Martin near lead

By Randall MellMarch 17, 2018, 1:54 am

PHOENIX – Mo Martin loved her long putter.

In fact, she named her “Mona.”

For 10 years, Martin didn’t putt with anything else. She grew up with long putters, from the time she started playing when she was 5.

While Martin won the Ricoh Women’s British Open in 2014, about nine months after giving up Mona for a short putter, she said it’s taken until today to feel totally comfortable with one.

And that has her excited about this year.

Well, that and having a healthy back again.

Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

“I've had a feeling that this year was going to be a good one,” Martin said. “My game is in a special place.”

Martin was beaming after a 6-under-par 66 Friday moved her two shots off the lead at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup.

“Just a beautiful day,” Martin said. “I was able to play my game, make my putts.”

Martin hit all 14 fairways in the second round, hit 15 greens in regulation and took just 27 putts. After struggling with nagging back pain last year, she’s pain free again.

She’s happy to “just to get back to a place now where my ball striking is where it has been the last few years.”

Martin, by the way, says Mona remains preserved in a special place, “a shrine” in her home.