Spotlight on | Golf

Local golfers Erik Compton, Lexi Thompson continue to be on the rise

 
 
Erik Compton tees off on the 15th during Round Three of the Zurich Classic of New Orleans at TPC Louisiana on April 26, 2014 in Avondale, La.
Erik Compton tees off on the 15th during Round Three of the Zurich Classic of New Orleans at TPC Louisiana on April 26, 2014 in Avondale, La.
Stacy Revere / Getty Images

Special to the Miami Herald

April was a noteworthy month for South Florida’s top golfers on the sport’s biggest stages — the PGA Tour and LPGA Tour.

We’re not talking about all those professional golfers who move to South Florida, usually clustering in the Palm Beach or Orlando area so they can hone their skills for 365 days a year. We’re talking about true South Floridians, the most-notable recently being Erik Compton and Lexi Thompson.

They were born in South Florida. They grew up in South Florida. They still call South Florida their true homes, despite traveling to tournaments all over the world.

Thompson, born in Coral Springs, has had an illustrious start to her LPGA career, with the biggest achievement coming earlier this month when she won her first major, the Kraft Nabisco Championship, at age 19.

Compton, born in Miami, hasn’t reached that status comparatively, but is smiling all the way to the bank. By finishing tied for fifth in the Zurich Classic in Avondale, La., last weekend, he brought his 2014 winnings to a career-high $810,483.

And there’s a lot more golf to be played this year.

At age 34, Compton seems to be climbing the leaderboard and climbing to new career heights.

“I’ve been out here for a while,” Compton admitted.

Compton has yet to win on the PGA Tour, but he still has high hopes. Recent results buoy that possibility. This year’s $800,00-plus earnings comes immediately after his second-best earnings of $651,600 in 2013.

Not bad for a guy who turned pro in 2001 and in 2002 made $22,438 in PGA Tour events.

His best PGA Tour finish to date was a fourth in the 2013 Honda Classic.

Compton fully knows, and reluctantly accepts, that his health history of having two heart transplants (1992 and 2008) often outshines the recognition of his success on the golf course. Nevertheless, part of his PGA routine is to visit hospitals — particularly children’s hospitals — in an effort to give patients hope simply by talking to them.

Only fitting that five months after his second transplant he tied for 60th in his first tournament back. Even more fitting, the tournament was the Children’s Miracle Network Classic.

That marked a big achievement.

And there is one more big achievement Compton would like to accomplish — to win a PGA tournament.

“I just have to get it done,” Compton said.

NOVA JOINS BARRY

Nova Southeastern will join longtime rival Barry University in the Division II South/Southeast Super Regional May 5-7 in Savannah, Ga. Barry is ranked No. 1 in the nation. Lynn is the No. 2-seeded team in the tournament with Nova Southeastern third.

The Nova Southeastern women’s team also qualified for its Super Regional on May 4-6 at Lake Jovita Golf & Country Club in Dade City. Nova Southeastern is seeded fifth. Lynn is the top seed with Barry No. 3.

THAT’S A FACT, JACK

In Caddyshack, possibly golf’s most-famous movie, one of the classic lines is Bill Murray as Carl Spackler uttering, “Cinderella story. Outta nowhere. A former greenskeeper now about to become the Masters champion.” He delivers that line while swinging away at flowers with a garden tool. The words were not in the script. Murray improvised the lines.

Read more Golf stories from the Miami Herald

  • WEB.COM - Chiquita Classic

    Thursday, September 4th through Sunday, September 7th Course Info Site: River Run Country Club, Davidson, North Carolina Course Architect: Robert Walker and Raymond Floyd (2008) Par: 72 Yardage: 7,317 Hole by Hole Front Nine: 36 3,637 Yds 1 - Par 4 407 Yds 2 - Par 5 527 Yds 3 - Par 4 416 Yds 4 - Par 3 163 Yds 5 - Par 4 456 Yds 6 - Par 5 537 Yds 7 - Par 4 455 Yds 8 - Par 3 219 Yds 9 - Par 4 457 Yds Back Nine: 36 3,680 Yds 10 - Par 4 428 Yds 11 - Par 4 388 Yds 12 - Par 5 579 Yds 13 - Par 4 430 Yds 14 - Par 3 177 Yds 15 - Par 4 440 Yds 16 - Par 4 460 Yds 17 - Par 3 230 Yds 18 - Par 5 548 Yds Tournament Info Year: 5th Television: Golf Channel - Thursday -- 12:30-3:30 p.m. (et), - Friday -- 1:30-3:30 p.m. (et), - Saturday/Sunday -- 5-7 p.m. (et) Champion: Andrew Svoboda (Not defending) Runner Up: Will MacKenzie Tournament Record: 261 (Tommy Gainey, 2010) 54-Hole Record: 192 (Tommy Gainey, 2010) 36-Hole Record: 130 (Tommy Gainey, 2010; Josh Broadaway, 2011) Course Record: 65 (Andrew Svoboda, 2013) Total Purse: $1,000,000 Shares: 1st Place - $180,000; 2nd Place - $108,000; 3rd Place - $75,000 2013 Final Leaderboard Andrew Svoboda * 276 Will MacKenzie 276 Ben Martin 277 John Peterson 277 Ryo Ishikawa 278 Ricky Barnes 279 Troy Matteson 279 Six players at 280 Past Winners 2013: *Andrew Svoboda (276). Runner up: Will MacKenzie 2012: *Russell Henley (266). Runner up: Patrick Cantlay, Morgan Hoffmann 2011: Russell Knox (263). Runner up: Billy Hurley III 2010: Tommy Gainey (261). Runner up: Joe Affrunti * - Won in Playoff Top Contenders John Peterson 2010: 2011: 2012: 2013: T-3 Greg Owen 2010: 2011: T-3 2012: 2013: T-8 Colt Knost 2010: T-3 2011: 2012: 2013: T-39 Bud Cauley 2010: 2011: 2012: 2013: T-44 Casey Wittenberg 2010: T-37 2011: T-33 2012: T-12 2013: T-47 Scott Gardiner 2010: mc 2011: mc 2012: 2013: T-47 Steve Wheatcroft 2010: 2011: T-33 2012: T-38 2013: T-59 Adam Hadwin 2010: 2011: 2012: mc 2013: mc Trevor Immelman 2010: 2011: 2012: 2013: mc Andrew Putnam 2010: 2011: 2012: 2013: mc Tom Gillis 2010: 2011: 2012: 2013: wd Sam Saunders 2010: mc 2011: 2012: 2013: David Lingmerth 2010: 2011: T-10 2012: mc 2013: Zack Sucher 2010: 2011: 2012: 2013: Justin Thomas 2010: 2011: 2012: 2013: NOTES: The Web.com Tour travels to North Carolina this week for the Chiquita Classic in Davidson, outside of Charlotte. This is the second week of the Web.com Tour Finals. Bud Cauley won the first event of the Finals last week at the Hotel Fitness Championship.

  • Ryder Cup takes shape as Europeans leave Luke Donald off roster

    The European team headed for the Ryder Cup later this month will face the U.S. without former top-ranked golfer Luke Donald.

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