After Further Review: Don't overlook Compton's T-2

Each week, takes a look back at the week in golf. In this edition of After Further Review, our writers weigh in on Erik Compton's incredible journey from two heart transplants to a share of second place at the U.S. Open, Martin Kaymer's freakish performance and the "rough" at Pinehurst No. 2.

Usually your name has to be Phil Mickelson to finish in second place at a U.S. Open and lock up honors as one of the most newsworthy stories of the year. But this time, that accolade will be heaped upon Erik Compton – and for good reason. His backstory might have been drummed into our heads so often over the past few days that we’re now taking it for granted, but we shouldn’t. Compton isn’t just one of the best stories in golf, he’s one of the best stories in all of sports. A two-time heart transplant recipient finished runner-up at a major championship. He will now compete in next year’s Masters and U.S. Open, while taking away all of the spoils that arise with such a strong showing. He didn’t win a trophy this weekend, but Compton was still a big winner. – Jason Sobel

They say nobody remembers who finishes second. The folks who watched Erik Compton tie for second at the U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2 on Sunday beg to differ. They’ll never forget what this remarkable man did here. Compton, 35, nearly trumped the Miracle at Merion, Ben Hogan’s victory in his return from a nearly fatal car accident in the 1950 U.S. Open. Every shot Compton took around Pinehurst this week was a miracle given he is competing at such a high level after not one, but two heart transplants. You would have thought Compton was the champion when he walked up the 18th fairway Sunday, with the huge ovation that washed over him. I’ll remember Martin Kaymer’s tour-de-force performance from this week, but I’ll also never forget the guy who finished second. – Randall Mell

So much for a season where the big names can’t close. In the wake of Bubba Watson’s win at Augusta, Martin Kaymer has now pulled off an unprecedented double, winning The Players and U.S. Open within six weeks. What’s even more impressive, though, is that Kaymer won both events by going wire-to-wire. This year we have seen plenty of big names falter and have crowned several unexpected champions, but Kaymer just took on the best names in golf on a world-class course with a target on his back, and he held them all off – twice. We have plenty of time to prognosticate what this might mean for the rest of his career, but let’s also take a moment to appreciate the feat he just accomplished. It’s hard enough to protect a lead on the PGA Tour, but doing it in this type of fashion is worth some recognition. - Will Gray

I like Pinehurst, but I like my U.S. Open with traditional rough more. The results this week speak volumes – three men were under par, two of them were only 1 under and the other was a freakazoid. The No. 2 course was up to the challenge and dealt as much damage as most other Open tracks. But, and there’s always a but, I didn’t think the native areas created much consternation. Crazy, thick, gnarly rough creates oodles of anxiety and often the prudent play is to hack out sideways back into the fairway. That didn’t happen this week. Martin Kaymer was going to win if this Open was played on Mars, but he wouldn’t have made eagle on the fifth hole Saturday from the junk if the junk was traditional rough. Can't help it. That’s how I like my Open. – Jay Coffin

After Pebble Beach, Pinehurst remains the top U.S. Open venue. Despite a surprising amount of social media scrutiny and an unstoppable German who looked to be playing the adjacent No. 5 course, the Donald Ross gem solidified its status as the home of golf in the United States and, wait for it, a fair but challenging test. While the scruffy edges and parched, brown turf may not have shown well in HiDef, the redesigned No. 2 course is exactly what golf should be. The setup, which yielded back-to-back 65s from Martin Kaymer to start the week, may not have been to some fans' liking, but the course was perfect. – Rex Hoggard

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Pepperell among co-leaders early in Qatar

By Associated PressFebruary 22, 2018, 5:06 pm

DOHA, Qatar – Eddie PepperellGregory Havret, and Aaron Rai made the most of calm early morning conditions at Doha Golf Club to set the pace in the opening round of the Qatar Masters at 7-under-par 65 on Thursday.

Havret went bogey free, Pepperell made one bogey and eight birdies, while fellow English golfer Rai eagled his last hole to add to five birdies.

One shot behind the leaders were four players, including former Ryder Cup player Edoardo Molinari of Italy and former champion Alvaro Quiros of Spain.

Defending champion Jeunghun Wang of South Korea started with a 68, and Race to Dubai leader Shubhankar Sharma of India shot 69 despite a double bogey on the 15th hole.

Full-field scores from the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters

Pepperell, who is fast gaining a reputation on the European Tour for his irreverent tweets and meaningful blogs, showed his clubs can also do an equal amount of talking after missing cuts in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Malaysia.

Pepperell birdied Nos. 10, 11, 14, 16 and 18 with a single blemish on 13 after starting on the back nine. He made three more birdies on his back nine.

He was joined on top of the leaderboard by Havret, who made five birdies in six holes from the sixth, and Rai, who eagled the last.

''I surprised myself, really,'' said Pepperell, who finished third in Portugal and Netherlands last year.

''I've made some changes this week with personnel, so I've been working on a couple of new things and I surprised myself out there with how well I managed to trust it.

''I hit some quality tee shots, that's the area I feel that I've been struggling with a bit lately. We had a good time.

''It's definitely a bigger picture for me this week than tomorrow and indeed the weekend. I'm not overly-fussed about my early season form.”

Molinari, a three-time champion on the tour including last year in Morocco, started with eight straight pars, and then made seven birdies in his last 10 holes, including a chip-in for birdie on the last.

''I hit every green apart from the last one. I hit a lot of fairways, I had a lot of chances for birdie,'' said Edoardo, the older brother of Francesco.

''Last week in Oman, I had a decent week, I had a bad first round and then three very good rounds. It's been the case for the last few weeks so my focus this week was to try and get a good start.''

Oliver Fisher of England was the best among the afternoon groups with a 6-under 66, joining Molinari, Quiros and Germany's Marcel Schneider in a tie for fourth.

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Tiger Tracker: Honda Classic

By Tiger TrackerFebruary 22, 2018, 4:45 pm

Tiger Woods is making his third start of the year at the Honda Classic. We're tracking him at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

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Honda Classic: Tee times, TV schedule, stats

By Golf Channel DigitalFebruary 22, 2018, 2:15 pm

The PGA Tour heads back east to kick off the Florida Swing at PGA National. Here are the key stats and information for the Honda Classic. Click here for full-field tee times.

How to watch:

Thursday, Rd. 1: Golf Channel, 2-6PM ET; live stream:

Friday, Rd. 2: Golf Channel, 2-6PM ET; live stream:

Saturday, Rd. 3: Golf Channel, 1-2:45PM ET; live stream:; CBS, 3-6PM ET

Sunday, Rd. 4: Golf Channel, 1-2:45PM ET; live stream:; CBS, 3-6PM ET

Purse: $6.6 million ($1,188,000 to the winner)

Course: PGA National, Palm Beach Gardens, Florida (par-70; 7,140 yards)

Defending champion: Rickie Fowler (-12) won by four, picking off his fourth PGA Tour victory.

Notables in the field:

Tiger Woods

• Making his fourth start at the Honda Classic and his first since withdrawing with back spasms in 2014.

• Shot a Sunday 62 in a T-2 finish in 2012, marking his lowest career final-round score on the PGA Tour.

• Coming off a missed cut at last week's Genesis Open, his 17th in his Tour career.

Rickie Fowler

• The defending champion owns the lowest score to par and has recorded the most birdies and eagles in this event since 2012.

• Fowler's last start was at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, where he failed to close a 54-hole lead. Fowler is 1-for-6 with 54-hole leads in his Tour career, with his only successful close coming at last year's Honda.

• On Tour this year, Fowler is first in scrambling from the fringe, second in total scrambling and third in strokes gained around the green. 

Rory McIlroy

• It's been feast or famine for McIlroy at the Honda. He won in 2012, withdrew with a toothache in 2013, finished T-2 in 2014 and missed the cut in 2015 and 2016.

• McIlroy ascended to world No. 1 with his victory at PGA National in 2012, becoming the second youngest player at 22 years old to top the OWGR, behind only Woods. McIlroy was later edged by a slightly younger 22-year-old Jordan Spieth.

• Since the beginning of 2010, only Dustin Johnson (15) has more PGA Tour victories than McIlroy (13). 

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Lexi, J. Korda part of four-way tie in Thailand

By Associated PressFebruary 22, 2018, 1:01 pm

CHONBURI, Thailand – Three-time tour winner Minjee Lee of Australia finished with a superb eagle putt to be among the four leaders after Day 1 of the LPGA Thailand at Siam Country Club on Thursday.

Lee sank a 45-foot putt on the 18th hole to card a 6-under-par 66 to tie for the lead with 2016 champion Lexi Thompson, Jessica Korda, and local hope Moriya Jutanugarn.

''I just hit the collar. I didn't know if I was going to have enough. Such a big break there. I'm glad it caught the hole,'' Lee said.

''It's a second-shot golf course. Your approaches are really important, and obviously being in the right spots with the undulation. And if you have a hot putter that's going to help.''

Full-field scores from the Honda LPGA Thailand

Lee won the Vic Open near Melbourne this month and opened her 2018 LPGA tour account last week at the Women's Australian Open, finishing fifth.

Thompson, who won this event in 2016 by six shots with a 20-under total and tied for fourth last year, started her latest round in style with an eagle followed by a birdie only to bogey the third hole. She carded four more birdies.

''It definitely helps to get that kind of start, but I was just trying to keep that momentum and not get ahead of myself,'' Thompson said.

Her compatriot Korda had a roller-coaster round which featured eagles on the first and 17th holes, five birdies, a double bogey on the sixth, and two bogeys.

Jutanugarn was the only player among the four to end the day without a bogey.

''I had a good start today, it was better than I expected,'' said Jutanugarn, who was seventh here last year.

She's trying to become the first Thai winner of the tournament.

Two-time champion Amy Yang and world No. 2 Sung Hyun Park were among six players at 5 under.