New year new look for Compton


ORLANDO, Fla. – Spotted sponsor exemption Erik Compton clipping 15-yard chip shots Wednesday afternoon at Bay Hill, a picture of health and confidence that was in dramatic contrast to his start last year at Arnold Palmer’s soiree.

At this point last year, Compton was still recovering from his second heart-transplant surgery and the birth of his first child. For the year, he only managed seven Tour starts and tied for 100th at Q-School.

So far this year Compton has Monday qualified for the Northern Trust Open, where a Sunday 64 lifted him to his first top-25 finish on the PGA Tour, and tied for fourth at the Nationwide Tour’s Panama Championship.

“Should have won (Panama),” he said with a wide smile.

More so than his physical improvements, Compton is benefiting from being able to play a regular schedule. Bay Hill will be Compton’s third Tour start this year and he just found out he is in next week’s field in Houston on a sponsor exemption.

After that? “Augusta,” he smiled, noting that a win at Bay Hill or next week earns him his first trip down Magnolia Lane.