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

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 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 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.

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