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2014 US Open: Erik Compton writing new storylines in Pinehurst

By Chip Patterson | College Football/Basketball Writer

Erik Compton will chase his first PGA Tour win on Sunday at the US Open. (USATSI)
Erik Compton will chase his first PGA Tour win on Sunday at the US Open. (USATSI)

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PINEHURST, N.C. -- Erik Compton is tied for second place after posting a 67, matching the lowest score on a day where Phil Mickelson said it was "very unlikely" anyone would shoot under par.

The next hours will be filled with retreading the bullet points on Compton's life and career: two heart transplants (one in 1992, one in 2008), zero PGA Tour wins and just one other major appearance at the 2010 US Open.

Compton, a player whose star could soar higher than ever with another strong performance on Sunday, wants to know where we've been.

"For you guys and people who are hearing my name maybe for the first time at a major championship; we play a lot of major golf tournaments on the PGA Tour and I've played a lot of golf in my life. Sometimes my great golf is not on the PGA Tour, maybe it's at the Canadian Tour or maybe it's at the Web.com Tour or maybe it's in Europe somewhere."

Compton won the 2011 Mexican Open and has seven total professional wins. He reminded folks on Saturday after the round that he was also a successful junior golfer and college golfer at the University of Georgia. But on a day when the average score was 73.8, nearly four strokes over par, Compton carded five birdies and an eagle to balance out four bogeys in a thrilling late afternoon charge up the leaderboard.

"I think my attitude suits a US Open style course because I don't ever give up. I'm extremely hard on myself, but I tend to forget the shots I hit bad and move to the next hole. Sometimes I don't even know what hole I'm on because I'm trying to execute and then move to the next shot. I guess that's kind of reflective of how I always lived my life. If you have a bad situation or a bad day, you get up and try to do it again."

On Sunday, a new storyline will be added to Compton's bio in the sports world, but his world will still be the same. What we think about the 34-year-old doesn't matter, especially when he's already won the respect of Jack Nicklaus -- "He said if I got here, I would have a special week" -- and Chi Chi Rodriguez.

"I spoke with [Rodriguez] this morning and he told me I was going to go out and shoot 64. He told me how tough I was. There's different characters of the game that I feel like I've gained strength from and it's nice to have the greats of the game take an interest in me because of my story and it just goes to show you what great characters we have in the game."

Compton isn't spiteful for his lack of recognition or success. No matter what happens Sunday, Compton will be back doing work with Donate Life America next week. He will continue to play golf, use his story for good and continue what he describes as a slow improvement since receiving his PGA Tour card.

As for his own expectations for Sunday?

"I have nothing to lose," Compton said. "Nobody expects me to do anything. I think everybody in the top-10 has won a tournament or won a major, and if I go out and shoot 90, I don't think anybody will be surprised.

"But if I shoot 67 again you may be surprised."

 
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