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June 29, 2017

Stephen Keppler

Peabody, Massachusetts

Q. Stephen, can you talk about the run on the back nine, where you had four birdies in a row, starting at 17?
STEPHEN KEPPLER: Yes. Actually, I made a really good sand save on the hole prior, which kind of felt like saving the round a little bit. Got up and down out of the bunker.

Hit it behind the hole on 13, made about a 6-footer. Then the par 5, hit it pin high just off the green, I chipped it up there to 2 feet, knocked it in.

Then between two clubs on 15, and hit the longer club and probably got away with it. But anyway, just aiming for the front of the green, ended up hitting that to about 18 inches, tapped it in, and then made about a 20-footer down the hill on 16 for birdie.

Q. What club did you hit on 15?
STEPHEN KEPPLER: It was a 3 iron.

Q. Last year, or in the outward nine, you made bogies on 6 and 9, and maybe the round could have gone either way. Was it the 12th hole that got you back in?
STEPHEN KEPPLER: Yeah, I think so. I made birdie on 5, the long par 3 downhill, and then hit a bad tee shot, bad layup, bad fairway bunker shot, and actually made a good putt for a bogey on the par 5 6. Then made a couple of solid pars the next couple holes and then just hit a little chunky 5 iron into 9, came up short.

Then I made a couple of good pars and then hit a bad tee shot on that 12th hole but made a great up and down, sand save, which kind of got the round going again.

Q. In your first experience in playing in the Senior Open, you missed the cut. Now you start with a 67. What's the feeling like now, this time, getting off to a great start?
STEPHEN KEPPLER: Boy, I don't know. Not being -- I don't want to say comfortable. Not being familiar with these positions, you know, it's just -- it's a big cliche, but you just take one shot at a time. I know that's a really good round for me today.

I'm going to try, as I said, and take one shot at a time tomorrow, but it might be a little bit different, a little bit more pressure. But it's a great experience, great tournament. Even if I make 67 today and who knows what tomorrow, it's already been a good week.

Q. Is there anything from last year that you learned to help you today?
STEPHEN KEPPLER: Yeah, I think being patient last year, there were several times where -- I mean, we played this year for the front of the green a lot more times than last year, maybe getting a number and going for the pin, overshooting the green, and then you're dead.

So this year, we made a point, I mean, middle of the greens. And sometimes front of the green is better than beyond the flag. So just being patient.

Q. Even though you shot a good score, are you comfortable with this course?
STEPHEN KEPPLER: Yeah, I think so. I mean, there's one or two shots out there that -- the tee shot on 18, I don't feel totally comfortable with. But for the most part, when I stand up on the tee box, it feels pretty good. I've got to put a good swing together, but for the most part, yes.

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