Golf: Jon Duppler set for PGA Professional National Championship
By Erik Jacobsen email@example.com June 25, 2012 11:18PM
Jon Duppler, the head golf professional at Elgin Country Club, will compete in the 45th PGA Professional National Championship this week. | Michael Smart~Sun-Times Media
PGA PROFEsSIONAL NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP
Where: Bayonet and Black Horse Golf courses, Seaside, Calif.
TV: The Golf Channel (Today: 8:30-10:30 a.m.; Monday: 2:30-5 p.m.; Tuesday: 3-6 p.m.; Wednesday: 3-6 p.m.)
Local interest: Elgin Country Club’s Jon Duppler and Randall Oaks’ Steve Gillie are in the 312-player field
Noteworthy: The top 20 finishers earn a spot in the PGA Championship in August
Updated: July 25, 2012 6:11AM
With his golf game in top shape, Jon Duppler is ready to see how he measures up against the best PGA professionals in the country.
Duppler, a 2000 Larkin graduate who is in his third year as the head pro at Elgin Country Club, tees off in the first round of the 45th PGA Professional National Championship on Sunday in Seaside, Calif.
The four-day tournament is being held at Bayonet and Black Horse Golf courses on California’s Monterrey Peninsula and will be televised on The Golf Channel. The field is made up of 312 of the top PGA professionals in the nation, and the top 20 finishers earn a spot in the PGA Championship in August in Kiawah Island, S.C.
“I’ve never really played in anything this big,” Duppler said. “I’m sure there’s going to be some pretty good players there, so I’ve just got to try and play my best.”
Duppler isn’t the only local product in the field. Steve Gillie, a 2002 Dundee-Crown graduate who is now the head professional at Randall Oaks, is also making the trip to California.
Duppler earned a spot in this week’s tournament thanks to his sixth-place finish in the Illinois Section PGA Championship last August at Medinah Country Club. Gillie qualified by tying for eighth at the same event.
The solid results have continued this summer for Duppler, who is fresh off a runner-up finish at the Merit Club Classic on June 11. He made six birdies and one eagle on his way to a 4-under 68 at the tournament, finishing one stroke behind the winner.
“I’ve been out practicing here and there when I can,” Duppler said. “Something is clicking this year. I don’t know what it is. I can’t really describe it.”
Duppler’s plan was to arrive in California on Friday and play a practice round at one of the two host courses Saturday. The South Elgin native will be breaking new ground on the trip as he says this will mark the first time he can remember teeing it up west of the Mississippi River.
“I don’t have much experience going out that way, but from what I see online, the course looks awesome,” said Duppler, who briefly played college golf at Coastal Carolina. “Any time you get to go to Monterrey it’s a special treat.”
Duppler, 30, is making the most of the challenges that come with juggling his professional duties and his desire to compete at a high level. Serving as the head professional at a private country club can be demanding, especially during the summer, but Duppler says he is determined to not let these prime years of his golf career go to waste.
“You want to play and compete, but you don’t get any younger,” Duppler said. “I’ve put in some long days just to be able to play nine holes after work. It’s paying off, and hopefully it pays off even more.”