Miami’s Erik Compton summed up his golf season going into the Honda Classic this way: “I’ve played horribly all year.”
That changed on Thursday in the first round of the Honda at PGA National Resort & Spa, as Compton fired a 2-under-par 68 on the Champion Course to put himself in a tie for 10th place, three shots behind co-leaders Sergio Garcia and Michael Thompson.
Compton, whose story of undergoing two heart transplants is well-documented, said: “When you start the day and see how the wind is, you know it will be a tough day.” Chilly winds buffeting the course Thursday exceeded 20 miles per hour. Compton, 36, was satisfied with his play, considering everything.
“Sometimes you’re the bear and sometimes you’re the fish,” he said, “and this time I was the bear.”
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Compton, who usually plays well in the Honda, got to 3-under after 10 holes before making two bogeys and one birdie the rest of the way.
As for Friday’s second round, he said: “We’ll see who wakes up.”
Golf is a game in which confidence plays a major mental factor, and Phil Mickelson, winner of five major titles, is the first one to admit that in the past couple of years his confidence has waned.
His shots have strayed, just like his confidence.
But so far this season there has been a glimmer of hope. Mickelson has played four tournaments and finished second, third and 11th in three of them while missing the cut in the other.
On Thursday at PGA National, the ever-smiling Mickelson shot a 1-under 69 in blustery conditions to stand four back of the lead.
“The last year or two, I would show up at a course and I just was trying to find something,” Mickelson said. “I didn’t know which way the miss was going to be. It could be left, it could be right. It caused a lot of frustration knowing that I’m able to hit these shots and not pulling it off.
“It caused a lot of anxiety not knowing which way I was going to miss it, but now I show up to the course and I’m very relaxed.”