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PGA Championship: Australian Craig Hocknull's amazing journey

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McIlroy, Garcia describe driving balls at Gateway Arch (1:11)

Rory McIlroy and Sergio Garcia explain what it was like to practice with the Gateway Arch in the horizon. (1:11)

Surviving an attempted armed robbery is just one episode that makes Australian club pro Craig Hocknull the most interesting player at this week's US PGA Championship.

The Papua New Guinea-born 43-year-old was one of 20 golfers to qualify through the PGA Professionals Championship for the year's final major at Bellerive Country Club in Missouri.

Although nervous about his major debut, Hocknull says it pales in comparison to a horror night in 1994 while studying at Jackson State University in Mississippi.

Hocknull and four roommates were relaxing in their apartment when two gun-wielding assailants attempted to break through the front door. A quick-thinking Hocknull slammed the door on one of the attacker's arms before a nightmarish phone call to 911.

"That was pretty scary times," Hocknull told AAP. "Growing up in Australia, I don't even know if I ever saw a gun, but coming to the US is a different story.

"I guess I shouldn't have even opened the door; I'm thankful to be alive. I was able to slam the door on his hand and shut the deadbolt."

Hocknull forgot to dial '9' before 911, to route the call outside the university phone line, and so he and four roommates faced a harrowing 30 minutes.

"That was scary for all of us; my teammates came out with baseball bats and a golf club because we thought they might try breaking through the window," he said.

"We turned off the lights and stayed away from the windows. It felt like forever before the police showed up and we gave statements."

Hocknull was able to move past the experience and has since forged a fascinating path through golf.

He was once a travelling trick-shot artist who produced the Outback Golf Show in 2003 - where he dressed like Crocodile Dundee and performed his skills around the world - before becoming an accomplished instructor in America.

He is a member of the PGA of Australia, America and Canada and in 2016 won the PGA Professionals of Canada Championship. Hocknull now splits his time between a head coaching role at Saber golf academy in Arizona - which he founded - during the winter and teaching at a private golf club in Utah during summer.

Ranked No.2043 in the world, Hocknull finished tied 35th at last year's NSW Open in Sydney months after making his only US PGA Tour start at the Phoenix Open, where he missed the cut.

"I've never even attended a major championship, let alone play," Hocknull said. "It's surreal to work hard your whole life and your dream finally comes true."