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Sports

August 29, 2013

A golfer with 3rd heart and plenty of grit

NORTON — More than any other PGA Tour player, Erik Compton can do without the additional stress.

But there he was again last Friday, two shots over the cut line with two holes to play at The Barclays, needing to make the cut to have at least an outside chance of moving on to the next tournament in the FedEx Cup playoffs. He already had played 31 holes that day because of a rain delays, and his tank was empty.

But his heart? No one questions that.

This is the scrappy Florida kid who took up golf after a heart transplant when he was 12. The same guy who suffered a heart attack in 2007 and, with his heart pumping at 15 percent capacity and his foot on the accelerator, drove himself to the hospital while calling everyone to tell them he loved them because he thought it was over. He had his second heart transplant six months later.

He went birdie-birdie at The Barclays to make the cut.

“Some guys focus like every hole is the last hole. And I need to play like that every week,” Compton said. “Your energy level plays a major factor in how you think. Sucking it up, basically that’s what I’ve been doing my life — figuring out how to play golf when you’re not at your best.”

Two days later, Compton was 3 under for the final round and projected to be inside the top 100 in the FedEx Cup to advance to the Deutsche Bank Championship. He made bogey. Then another one. And then he chipped into the water on the 16th and faced a 10-foot putt for bogey.

More stress he didn’t need. More clutch golf he always seems to deliver. He made the bogey putt, made a birdie putt on the next hole from the same distance and then saved par on the final hole with a 5-foot putt that allowed him to head north to the TPC Boston this week.

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