Erik Compton, who earned a spot at the Northern Trust Open in the Monday qualifier, posted eight birdies and a bogey to shoot seven-under 64 in the final round at Riviera and surge up the leaderboard to a T25 finish. The 64 was also the lowest of the week. Not bad considering this was Compton’s first tournament of the year. Perhaps his fine play was propelled by his practice sesh a day earlier, where he used his caddie as target practice.
Late Saturday afternoon, Compton, who has received two heart transplants (one at age 12 and the second at age 28) was grinding at the driving range after shooting 75. I noticed his caddie was standing in the line of fire (see the black spot in the picture above) and catching the shots hit near him with a towel. I asked, Did he give you the wrong yardage today or something?
“No, I’m trying to figure out my yardages,” explained Compton. “I haven’t played in a while, so I don’t know my distances. I keep feeling like I’m going to fly the green.”
After about 20 balls, Compton switched clubs and hollered, “130!” His caddie walked back ten yards.
Compton also said he hasn’t been working with a swing coach in the last year, saying he’s just been “trying to get back to swing.”
“I’m trying to keep my arms closer to my body (through impact),” Compton said. “I think I’ve been pulling across (in my downswing) and the ball has been going left.”
He must have felt more comfortable on Sunday. Compton finished 100th at PGA Tour Q-School last December, giving him conditional status on the Nationwide Tour. So, what’s next? He has a sponsor’s exemption to next month’s Puerto Rico Open. Perhaps his top-25 finish at Riviera will secure him a few more of those in the upcoming weeks.