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English Club Pro Living American Dream

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.