Sports fans love an underdog. If golf fans feel the same they will have a good candidate to rally behind this weekend at the Shell Houston Open. He may not be a familiar name but his personal story is as unique as it is inspiring.
Erik Compton isn’t your normal professional athlete. Then again most athletes haven’t had a heart transplant, let alone two. The Norwegian-American golfer had his first transplant at the age of 12 and his second in 2008. He made the PGA Tour in 2012 and could potentially post his best finish of his career after a good start Thursday.
Compton shot a six under par 66 in the SHO’s opening round. He is in a pack of five golfers who shot 66, one shot off the lead shared by Bill Haas and Charley Hoffman.
Compton was just happy to feel well enough to play after a week long battle with pollen had him questionable for the tournament. He was forced to withdraw last Friday at the Valero Open in San Antonio, feeling week, even though he was -1 after the first round.
Thursday’s strong round at the Shell Houston Open could give Compton a chance to surpass a tie for fourth place at the Honda Open in 2013, his first top ten finish. Compton tied for fifth at the Arnold Palmer Invitational two weeks ago in Orlando.
“Our wave got a break today,” he said. “The wind wasn’t a factor. The wind has been a major factor for like two months on tour. It wasn’t pretty when I played out there but the scorecard was pretty. I made some good putts and my iron play was really, really good.”
Compton doesn’t know what to expect with the pollen condition that has caused his recent problems.
“With pollen you never know what you are going to get when you wake up,” he said.
Compton also serves as a spokesman for organ and tissue donation, hoping to provide an inspiration for people to sign up considering more than 121,000 are actively waiting for organ transplants. He also visited Nora’s Home, a facility offering support while also serving as a home away from home for transplant patients and their families.
Compton will tee off at 7:40 Friday morning in Round Two.
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