Compton shares lead at Greenbrier Classic

By Associated PressJuly 30, 2010, 4:44 am

Greenbrier Classic

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. – Erik Compton is a walking billboard for organ donation and sheer determination.

He’s also at the top of the Greenbrier Classic leaderboard.

Playing on a late sponsor exemption, the 30-year-old double heart transplant recipient shot a 7-under 63 on Thursday to share the first-round lead with rookie Matt Every in the inaugural tournament.

Compton spent eight straight days doing yard work at home in Miami before he got the call Saturday to play in the tournament. He’s making the most of his late invite, overcoming a slow start with nine birdies on the Old White course.

“You know, some guys miss six, seven cuts in a row and then win,” Compton said. “I know I’m a good player, and I have a lot of the adversity in front of me with the game and health. But I always feel like if I stick in there and keep trying, something eventually good is going to happen.”

George McNeill, Pat Perez and Jeff Overton opened with 64s.

Nearly all of the field hadn’t played the course before this week, but it wasn’t a detriment – 24 players were at 4 under or better.

Randall MellErik Compton is admired for his ability to get back up and fight after two heart transplants, but a lot of people watching him work magic at the Greenbrier Classic Thursday don’t know this trait is in the family genes.

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While more than half of the field is in jeopardy of missing the FedEx Cup playoffs and others are trying to secure spots in next month’s PGA Championship at Whistling Straits, Compton is taking it week by week, looking to solidify a future either on the PGA Tour or the Nationwide circuit.

A few years ago, it wasn’t looking so bright.

Compton was diagnosed with viral cardiomyopathy at age 9. The disease inflames the heart and leaves it unable to pump as hard as it needs to. His first transplant came three years later and another occurred in 2008.

He didn’t think he’d play golf again and even sold his equipment after the second transplant. But his health improved quickly and he returned to the game within weeks.

This season he’s made four cuts in seven starts.

In the past he might have denied that his double transplants would have been a bigger deal than shooting a low score, but not now.

“It affects so many people,” Compton said.

Compton’s stamina is good, though he admits it may not be up to the level of other players. That’s in part due to the hilly terrain and expansive layout of some courses.

Fortunately for him, Old White is relatively flat.

“My health is great. I keep a good eye on it,” Compton said. “I’m almost like a doctor now myself because I’ve been through so much and being able to manage medications and take it on the road.”

Good friend Victor Billskoog, who’s carrying Compton’s bag this week for the first time, is hoping to attend the PGA Tour’s qualifying school and uses Compton as an inspiration.

“He has such a great story coming from the depths that he came from,” Billskoog said. “When I get down on myself and think about how hard I’m having it, I think about Erik and his remarkable story.”

An accurate driver, Compton showed a good all-around game Thursday, reaching 11 of 14 fairways and 15 of 18 greens in regulation. He needed just 26 putts.

Things didn’t start out so good.

Compton bogeyed two of the first three holes, then rattled off seven birdies over a nine-hole stretch. He also birdied the par-4 14th and his chip from behind the green to the par-5 17th hit the flag, leaving him with another short birdie.

“I’m just trying to enjoy the opportunity,” Compton said. “It’s just the first round. I’ve played this sport long enough to know that (Friday) I tee off at 2 o’clock and might be seven back. So I’m just trying to be patient.”

Compton’s previous best round this year was 4-under 67 in February at the Mayakoba Golf Classic. His best finish was a tie for 30th at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

He qualified for the U.S. Open in June after a 36-hole sectional that included a playoff. He shot 77-81 in the Open and missed the cut.

After missing the cut two weeks ago at the Reno-Tahoe Open, Compton went back to his new home for some serious yard work, planting palm, oak and Italian Cypress trees and redoing the lawn.

“I’ve done flowers before, but nothing will grow in 150-degree weather in Miami,” Compton said.

After more than a week of getting his hands dirty, he got the call to play golf again – and has come to appreciate the beauty of Old White, which has undergone some tweaking and considerable floral touch ups in preparation for the tournament.

“This place is immaculate,” Compton said. “That why it’s so neat to see the landscaping here. As a golfer, you like to have your yard look nice.”

Every, starting on the back nine, eagled the par-5 12th and had three straight birdies to make the turn at 6 under. He added a birdie at the par-4 sixth hole.

The 26-year-old Every’s best finish is eighth at the Phoenix Open in late February. He’s played in just 11 tournaments in the last five months after breaking his left pinky finger.

“My game’s coming around,” said Every, recently arrested in Iowa and charged with possession of a controlled substance. He has denied possessing marijuana.

Overton, seeking his fifth top-10 finish this season, had the chance to tie for the lead but made bogey on the par-3 18th after his tee shot flew the green.

Brendon de Jonge, Charles Howell III, Aron Price, Matt Bettencourt and John Rollins shot 65s. Jim Furyk, who’s fifth in the FedExCup points standings and can jump past Ernie Els into the top spot with a second place or better finish, had a 68.

Carl Pettersson, winner of the Canadian Open last week, had a 71.

Afternoon play was stopped for 1 hour, 33 minutes due to storms.

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Davies headlines field at Senior LPGA at French Lick

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 14, 2018, 10:40 pm

Laura Davies will be looking to win her second senior major championship this year when she tees it up in Monday’s start of the Senior LPGA Championship at French Lick Resort in Indiana.

Davies, who won the inaugural U.S. Senior Women’s Open in July, will join a field that includes fellow World Golf Hall of Famer Jan Stephenson, who was announced last week with Peggy Kirk Bell as the Hall’s newest members. Hall of Famers Juli Inkster and Hollis Stacy are also in the 54-hole event.

Trish Johnson is back to defend her title after winning the inaugural Senior LPGA Championship a year ago. Brandi Burton, Jane Geddes, Helen Alfredsson and Liselotte Neumann are also in the field of 81 players who will compete for a $600,000 purse, with $90,000 going to the winner.

Golf Channel will televise all three rounds live from 4-6 p.m. ET on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

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Langer (65) wins regular-season finale by six

By Associated PressOctober 14, 2018, 10:07 pm

CARY, N.C. – Bernhard Langer ran away with the SAS Championship on Sunday to take the points lead into the PGA Tour Champions' Charles Schwab Cup playoffs

Langer shot a bogey-free 7-under 65 for a six-stroke victory in the regular-season finale.

''I just played very solid all day long,'' Langer said. ''Putted well, hit the ball where I was looking and did everything exceptionally well.''

The 61-year-old German star has 38 victories on the 50-and-over tour, also winning this year near Houston. He has a record four victories after turning 60.

''I don't have anything to prove, but I still have golf,'' Langer said. ''I still want to improve my own game. I still want to play to the best Bernhard Langer can play. I don't think I need to prove anything, but I love competing, I love winning or being in the hunt. As long as I can do that, I think you're going to see me out here.''

Langer finished with a tournament-record 22-under 194 total at Prestonwood Country Club, the tree-lined layout softened by heavy rain Thursday from Hurricane Michael. He opened with a 62 on Friday to match Gene Sauers and Tom Lehman for the lead, and had a 67 on Saturday to remain atop the leaderboard with Sauers.


Full-field scores from the SAS Championship


''The 10 under was amazing,'' Langer said. ''I couldn't believe there were two other guys who shot 10 under.''

The four-time Charles Schwab Cup winner also won at Prestonwood in 2012.

''It's always fun to go back to where you've won before because you feel like you know how to play the course and you're somewhat comfortable and that's certainly the case here,'' Langer said. ''I've been probably 50, 70 times now around this golf course and I know how to play every hole.''

Scott Parel was second, closing with a double bogey for a 65.

''Bernhard is just in his own world this week,'' Parel said.

Jerry Kelly had a 68 to finish third at 15 under, and Lehman followed at 13 under after a 71.

Sauers shot a 75 to tie for fifth with Miguel Angel Jimenez (68) at 12 under.

The top 72 players in the Schwab Cup standings qualified for the playoffs, the three-event series that begins next week with the Dominion Energy Charity Classic in Richmond, Va. Dan Forsman tied for 56th to jump from 74th to 72nd, edging John Huston for the final spot by $932. Huston tied for 46th.

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Pepperell captures British Masters, eyes Augusta

By Associated PressOctober 14, 2018, 5:29 pm

WALTON HEATH, England -- Eddie Pepperell won his second European Tour title with a two-shot victory at the British Masters on Sunday and likely secured the even bigger prize of a place in next year's Masters at Augusta National.

The Englishman shot an even-par 72 and held off his playing partner, Sweden's Alexander Bjork (71), as the pair went to the 72nd hole at a wet and windy Walton Heath with Pepperell just a stroke in front.

Pepperell finished on 9-under 279.

Herbert Lucas (69) and Jordan Smith (73) were tied for third, another two shots behind Bjork.

English pair Sam Horsfield (69) and Tom Lewis (70) along with American Julian Suri (74) tied for fifth, one shot in front of tournament host Justin Rose (70).

The victory takes Pepperell into the world's top 35 and almost certainly secures a first appearance at Augusta in 2019. The top 50 at the end of the year are guaranteed a place in the first major of the year in April.

Ryder Cup star Tommy Fleetwood (72) finished 2 under in a seven-way tie for ninth.


Full-field scores from the British Masters


A top-two finish on Sunday would have seen Rose reach the top of the world rankings for the second time this season, the 38-year-old having spent two weeks as No. 1 in September

Pepperell was ranked outside the top 500 as recently as May last year, but won the Qatar Masters in February and followed a runner-up finish in the Scottish Open with a tie for sixth in the British Open seven days later, carding a closing 67 at Carnoustie despite saying he had a hangover.

His three-shot overnight lead was down to a single stroke on Sunday when Bjork covered the front nine in 34 and Pepperell three-putted the ninth, the same hole where he enjoyed a spectacular hole-in-one on Thursday.

However, the 27-year-old Pepperell promptly holed his second shot to the 10th from 122 yards for an eagle to move three clear and a par save from off the green on the 14th looked to have sealed the win.

There was still time for some late drama, though, as Pepperell dropped shots on Nos. 15 and 16 to see his lead cut to a single shot, but Bjork bogeyed the 18th after driving into the heather and Pepperell saved par from a greenside bunker.

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Disappointed Sharma fades to T-10 at CIMB

By Will GrayOctober 14, 2018, 1:46 pm

For the second time this year, India's Shubankhar Sharma watched an opportunity for a breakthrough win turn into a learning experience.

Sharma burst onto the scene in March, taking a two-shot lead into the final round of the WGC-Mexico Championship only to fade to a tie for ninth. It was a similar story Sunday at the CIMB Classic in Malaysia, where Sharma started the final round in a three-way tie for the lead but struggled to an even-par 72 that dropped him into a tie for 10th.

"Disappointing, not really happy with the way I finished," Sharma told reporters.


Full-field scores from CIMB Classic

CIMB Classic: Articles, photos and videos


The 22-year-old was 1 over for his first six holes, but he battled back with four straight birdies on Nos. 7-10 to get within three shots of eventual winner Marc Leishman. But his tee shot at the par-3 11th found the water, leading to the first of three straight bogeys that ended any hopes of victory.

"That was probably one of the worst swings of the day," Sharma said. "That 11th hole I think killed the momentum for me. A par there would have gone a long way, and I probably could have made more birdies after that."

Sharma remained optimistic this spring following his final-round fade in Mexico, and he retained a positive mindset despite a rough afternoon as he eyes upcoming starts at both the CJ Cup in South Korea and the WGC-HSBC Champions in China.

"Great experience. Very, very good to have two top-10s on the PGA Tour, so that's a good way of looking at it," he said. "Also, it pushes me to keep playing well. I feel like I have it in me to win out there on the PGA Tour, and I've given myself two opportunities. Game is in a decent place now."