By Steve Elling
PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — Playing in the last group, the sun had already bid sayonara to PGA National as Erik Compton and his two playing partners finished on Thursday night.
For those hearty few who stayed and were paying attention, it was worth the wait. Compton, arguably the most inspiring story in the history of the sport, shot a 3-under 67 in his backyard and moved into a tie for 10th after the first round of the Honda Classic.
Though he is a rookie, the Miami native has played in the event before and received another sponsor exemption this year.
"This is my home game," Compton said as darkness fell.
The two-time heart transplant recipient has played in five events tis year after earning his PGA Tour card by playing well on the Nationwide last season, though his best finish is T42. Poor weekend, he said, have plagued him.
The 32-year-old seems to run out of energy, interest, or a little of both.
"I have had a hard time finishing on the wekend," Compton said. "There's a lot of stress in playing the tour, and on this golf course. I think if I had a good solid weekend, it would give me a lot of confidence."
Compton plays in the morning wave on Friday, where the wind is usually less active, so he's in a good spot, based on the typical weather patterns. But then he needs to take care of business after making the cut.
"I've got to get better at controlling my emotions," he said. "I think the talent is there, but there's more to this game than just talent."