Getting into a tournament on the PGA Tour through Monday Qualifying is at best a long shot. It usually takes a score in the low 60s to earn one of four spots against a field of typically more than 100 players ranging from rising young hot-shots, to wily veterans and guys who have won on tour before.
Making it through the Monday qualifier at the Honda Classic is even tougher. It typically has the strongest field of any Monday event, thanks to the tournament being held in South Florida, where many of these young players live.
None of that seemed to faze Erik Compton. He’s handled more pressure than merely playing in a golf tournament. The 39-year-old Miami native is the only known professional athlete who is a two-time heart-transplant recipient.
Compton proved he was up to the golf challenge on Monday, shooting a seven-under 65 to share medalist honors with Drew Nesbitt at Banyan Cay Resort & Golf in West Palm Beach, Fla., on Monday, and earning the right to play in his first PGA Tour event since 2016.
Having competed on the Web.com Tour each of the past two years, Compton last played in a PGA Tour event at the Sanderson Farms Championship three years ago, where he missed the cut.
Just as impressive as Compton’s Monday round, which included six birdies and an eagle on the par-5 18th, was who Compton beat to earn a spot in the field at PGA National. Among the 132 players vying for four spots were a number of tour winners, including Sangmoon Bae, Will Mackenzie, Daniel Chopra, Robert Allenby, Derek Lamely, Frank Lickliter II, Brendan Todd, David Lingmerth, George McNeill and Olin Browne, among others.
Thus far in 2019, Compton has played in four Web.com Tour events, making the cut three times with a T-25 finish at the Bahamas Great Abaco Classic at The Abaco Club his best result. It was that event in which Compton held the lead entering the final round only to shoot a closing 83.
Compton’s lone professional victory came at the 2011 Mexico Open on the Web.com Tour and his best finish on the PGA Tour was a runner-up at the 2014 U.S. Open at Pinehurst. He last played in the Honda Classic in 2016, tying for 51st. His best finish in six starts in the event is a tie for fourth in 2013.