Allenby leads Compton contending at Honda - COPIED

By Associated PressMarch 6, 2009, 5:00 pm
2007 Honda ClassicPALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. ' Erik Comptons first goal this week at the Honda Classic was playing well enough to be around on Sunday.
So far, so good.
Golfs comeback kid closed a comeback of a first round Friday morning at PGA National, finishing off a 1-under 69 and tied for 12th, three shots behind leader Robert Allenby.
No, its not perfect position for Compton. But for a guy who doesnt mind pointing out that hes died twice, its nothing to complain about.
Ive been fighting my game and fighting life for so long, Compton said. Its time.
This is Comptons second PGA Tour event since undergoing heart-transplant surgery for the second time last year. Diagnosed with heart disease at 9 and needing his first transplant three years later, Compton never thought hed be able to go to college. Nearly two decades later, Compton is married with a newborn daughter, and says its time to get his golf career rolling.
Everyone in the Honda field will try to beat him. In some way, theyre all probably rooting for Compton as well.
You can only wish him well after what hes had to go through to get to where he is right now, Allenby said. I mean, no ones fought for their life really on this tour as much as he has.
Compton was among nine players who couldnt complete the round Thursday night because of darkness. The pace of play was brutally slow, with some groups needing 3 hours to play nine holes.
He only needed 21 minutes to finish up Friday morning. He started the day with a 30-yard pitch that he left on the course the night before and rolled in a 10-footer for par, then finished with another par, two-putting from 12 feet.
I did what I needed to do, Compton said. Got up and down.
As the sun started to go down Thursday night, Allenby moved up to take the top spot on the leaderboard.
He endured a day when the wind blew flags straight and the only solace for players were receptive greens. He had a tap-in on the par-4 ninth ' his final hole ' to break away from what was an eight-way tie for the lead.
Allenby missed a 2 1/2 -footer on the previous hole, so he left nothing to chance on the last, hitting a 6-iron to 6 inches.
I just sort of played within myself, took one or two clubs more when it was into the wind, tried not to force it and just tried to feel my way around the golf course, said Allenby, who lives nearby and has two top-five finishes at PGA National since the Honda moved there in 2007.
A group of six players ' Sergio Garcia, Stewart Cink, Charlie Wi, Jeff Overton, Angel Cabrera and Will Mackenzie ' entered the second round one shot behind Allenbys pace. Another four players, including Chris Riley, were another shot back.
Looming not far behind was Compton, the South Florida native who got into the Honda on a sponsors exemption. The PGA Tour would let him use a cart if he needed it; the only Compton who got a ride in the first round was Petra, his daughter who was born about two weeks ago.
He made a triple-bogey on his second hole, which would have deflated some.
Compton, however, said it was the kickstart he needed.
I said, Im not going to fight it anymore. Im going to let it go, Compton said. It was good.
Real good, actually: Compton birdied three straight holes after making the turn, no small feat in conditions like the ones players faced Thursday.
I played really well despite having a triple, Compton said.
Mathias Gronberg endured a horrendous back nine. Gronberg was 1 over through six holes, a fairly nondescript beginning. The last 12 holes, well, they were ones that hell likely never forget.
Put it this way: He didnt even manage to play bogey golf.
Gronberg had three triple-bogeys in a four-hole span on the back side, became the first player to shoot 50 over nine holes since Phil Tataurangi at Greensboro nine years ago ' excluding Billy Casper, whose 106 in the first round at the 2005 Masters officially went into the books as a WD because he didnt turn in the card.
Gronberg saved par at the 18th to shoot a staggering 89, 19 over par.
Thats a record for me, Gronberg said.
Defending champion Ernie Els shot 73, as did Camilo Villegas, Davis Love III and Rocco Mediate, among others.

Notes: Compton said he had trouble sleeping Thursday night, but not because he was near the lead. Ate too much, he said. 2000 Honda winner Dudley Hart withdrew during the first round with a back injury. Glen Day withdrew Friday morning because of a sore neck. He opened with a 78....Play was called at 6:30 p.m. ET Thursday with nine players still on the course. Former PGA champion Shaun Micheel, who has a therapeutic-use exemption through the 2010 season for transdermal testosterone gel ' he was diagnosed with low testosterone four years ago ' shot even-par 70 in his first round of the year. Hes coming off shoulder surgery. Replete with rain gear just in case, Woody Austin took two swings to free his ball from the waterside muck at the par-3 17th. No reprise of the 2007 Aquaman scene at the Presidents Cup when he fell into the water, though: Austin stayed dry and saved double bogey.
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