Erik Compton’s first Masters ended Sunday with a final round 2-over-par 74 he said could just as easily been 4-under or 5-under. The problem? He just never figured out Augusta National’s maddening greens.
“From Day One, I really didn’t know how to putt out here,” said Compton, the Miami native who finished the tournament at 5-over 293, good for 51st place among the remaining 55 players in the field. “I’ve had tournaments like that before. If I had a six-footer up the hill that I thought would break right, it broke left. I had no clue.
“I had a five-footer at eight and missed, an eight-footer at 11, three-putted 14,” he said. “At the 13th, I had a six-footer for eagle and missed it. Had a 12-footer for eagle at 15 and missed. Hit driver and 6-iron at both holes, but couldn’t make the putts.”
Still, the entire experience for a 35-year-old playing with the second heart transplant of his life seven years ago was priceless, he said afterward.
“The only reason I wouldn’t come back here is if my heart wouldn’t let me come back,” he said. “Everything has been fantastic, just a great experience.”
And now it’s back to reality for Compton. Instead of playing the Heritage next week at Hilton Head in South Carolina, he has an appointment Tuesday at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami to undergo a heart catheter procedure, something he does every six months to make sure there are no problems.
Compton clearly was fatigued from 72 holes played on an extremely hilly golf course that is a challenging walk for anyone.
“But I got around these hills pretty good,” he said. “I should be fine.”
SCARE FOR TIGER
Tiger Woods had a major scare and a lot of pain when he hit a shot out of the pine straw at the ninth hole and hit a tree root with his club. He dropped the iron and bent over, holding his right wrist, but was able to continue and finish his round.
“There was a little joint that popped out, and I was able to somehow put it back in, which didn’t feel real good,” he said. “But at least I got it back in, and I could move my hand again. It’s sore. I’m not going to be lifting any weights for a little bit.”
Woods still managed to shoot 73 and was 5-under 283 for the tournament. He was making only his first start since taking over two months off to work on his game. He finished in a tie for 17th.
“It was mostly positives,” he said of his play this week. “You saw the state of my short game [at the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines in February]. But now my short game’s my strength again, which is good stuff.”
Phil Mickelson, who tied for second with Justin Rose, now has 10 top-10 finishes in this tournament as well as three wins. He was dressed all in black Sunday for his final round, his usual colors whenever he’s in contention after 54 holes. It was a marked contrast for Mickelson from his choice of shirt colors in Saturday’s third round.
Mickelson was pretty in pink Saturday and said he did it to honor 85-year-old Arnold Palmer, who often wore the same color on his way to four Masters championships of his own.
“It’s not my color, it doesn’t look good on me,” Mickelson said. “I don’t wear it well, but I had a premonition after spending time with Arnold Palmer. He likes to wear this color. I just had a feeling I needed to make a move. I had it in the bag and pulled it out.”
Clearly it worked. Mickelson matched the low round of the day with a Saturday 67 that left him five shots behind going into the final round. He was four back after 72 holes with a final round 69 and 14-under 274.