Erik Compton just pulled off his biggest miracle yet.
A day after he struggled with fatigue so badly that he seriously considered blowing off the U.S. Open sectional qualifier on Monday, the double heart transplant recipient not only made it through 36 holes, he survived a playoff and claimed a spot in the field next week at Pebble Beach, too.
Compton, a former college star who received a second heart transplant two years ago and has been battling to find a foothold in the professional game ever since, shot rounds of 69 and 66 at the Springfield, Ohio, qualifier on Monday and then survived a three-player, three-hole playoff to gain one of the final two spots out of that qualifier.
A day earlier, after shooting 82 in the final round at the Memorial Tournament in Columbus, he was so dejected and physically fried, he was grumbling about skipping the qualifier altogether and wondering if, given his medical situation, he was ever going to climb the mountain.
"I can’t keep doing this," he said.
Compton has made four cuts in as many attempts on the PGA Tour this year, but keeps running out of gas on the weekend because of his condition. He had a similar conversation with his father, Peter, in Miami on Sunday night, and it was unfathomable that Compton managed to rally and last 39 holes under the gun.
"I don’t know how he did it," Peter Compton said Monday night. "He was saying how at the end of the day it catches up to him. He said, 'I'll play, but it'll be a miracle if I get through.'"
Nice choice of words.
Reached late Monday night, Compton struggled to find the sentences to describe the feeling. He has never played in a major championship. Meanwhile, many of his old college friends are succeeding on the pro tours.
"Obviously, for me, I have done some interesting things in my career," he said, in quite an understatement. "But for me, this was by far the most emotional."
Compton, 30, said he had a horrid night's sleep and woke up at 4 a.m.
"I was beat," said Compton, who is married with a young child. "I mustered it up somehow. I popped a lot of pain pills this morning and found a way."
Despite six three-putts over his first 36 holes, Compton hung on and got to place a well-received phone call to his parents, who thought they might lose their son when he had a massive heart attack in 2007 as his first donor heart began to fail.
"I heard the phone ring and my wife screaming, and I knew either it was a very happy thing or a very bad thing," Peter Compton said.
For the Compton clan, after all they have endured, they were due for more of the former.