HUMBLE, Texas – This is unfamiliar, but not uncharted, territory for Erik Compton.
His opening 66 at the Shell Houston Open put the two-time heart-transplant recipient in a tie for third, one shot behind Bill Haas and Charley Hoffman.
This is the third-best start to a tournament in Compton’s career: He led after one round at the 2010 Greenbrier and was second at the 2012 Memorial. Those tournaments didn’t end well, however: A final-round 77 in West Virginia sent him all the way to 73rd, while three straight 75s at Jack’s Place gave him a 38th-place finish.
After recording just the second top 10 of his career at Bay Hill (T-5), Compton withdrew during the second round of last week’s Valero Texas Open. The official reason was allergies, but Compton explained that he was below the cut line and “my mind was in a bad place and I needed to get some rest.”
The Houston Open is his fourth tournament in a row.
“Like I said to some friends, all I need is eight great rounds and I can retire,” he said Thursday. “But it’s not that simple.”
Compton said that he’s simply trying to cash in on some of the best form of his career.
“I’m just trying to do whatever I can to hang in there,” he said. “It’s obvious that I have a lot of adversity that I’ve had to deal with. So when I’m feeling good and hitting the ball strong, I feel like I have as good a chance as anybody else.”