Golf

Ryan Blaum, Erik Compton bring local flavor to upcoming U.S. Open

 

Special to the Miami Herald

There will be a reunion of two Miamians this week as the U.S. Open tees off Thursday at the infamous Pinehurst No. 2 course in North Carolina.

Ryan Blaum (Miami Westminster Christian) and Erik Compton (Miami Palmetto) will be in the elite field of 156. Both have taken circuitous routes to get there.

After graduating from Westminster in 2002, Blaum, 30, went on to become a three-time All-American at Duke, winning the ACC tournament once and being named the ACC Player of the Year twice. That was just the start of his traveling days.

After turning pro, Blaum has played on the European Tour, the Canadian Tour, the Latin American Tour, the PGA Tour and currently is competing mainly on the Web.com Tour. Blaum is in the midst of his most successful year, earning $81,012 so far in 2014.

Obviously, he would like to add to that total with a strong showing at the Open. He would also like to get full-fledged status in golf’s big leagues, the PGA Tour. Currently, he ranks 21st on the Web.com Tour, and generally the top 25 players on that tour receive their PGA card.

Then there’s Compton. At age 34, after graduating from the University of Georgia, he seems to be succeeding more and more. He is known for his two heart transplants, but these days people seem to talk more about his rising career than his health, which is just fine with him. In 2013, Compton won $651,660, and so far in 2014 he is at $863,233 and counting.

One person who has watched Blaum and Compton grow up in Miami, play golf during their high school days and struggle at times in search of that elusive pro success, is Blaum’s father, Steve.

Steve Blaum, who has been involved in youth golf for more than three decades and has been the golf coach at Westminster Christian since 1997, has followed the two since their early days.

“It will be great to see two kids from the same area tee it up in the Open this week,” he said.

• Pinehurst No. 2 is one of seven courses at the Pinehurst Resort, and it recently was restructured to bring it back toward its rustic beginnings when it was designed by Donald Ross, who also designed the Biltmore in Miami. The yardage this week will be 7,582 yards.

•  Andy Golden of Davie won his second tournament in a row on the Golfslinger

.com Tour with a 3-under-par 69 at The Falls Country Club in Lake Worth.

• When Barry University’s Adam Svensson, the country’s top-ranked Division II player who led the Bucs to a repeat national title, shot a course-record 61 on Miami Beach’s Normandy Shores course this past season, he was more than flattered about who else played Miami Beach in the distant past and were unable to match that 61. That would be, among others, Sam Snead, Arnold Palmer and Peter Thomson.

Read more Golf stories from the Miami Herald

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