Heart transplant recipient ties for second at U.S. Open

Erik Compton watches his tee shot on the third hole during the final round of the U.S. Open golf tournament in Pinehurst, N.C., Sunday, June 15, 2014. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
Erik Compton watches his tee shot on the third hole during the final round of the U.S. Open golf tournament in Pinehurst, N.C., Sunday, June 15, 2014. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
Posted: June 17, 2014

PINEHURST, N.C. - All one needs to know about Erik Compton, a two-time heart transplant recipient, could be found Sunday by his play on the 18th hole at the U.S. Open after Martin Kaymer already had cemented the victory.

"I hit the world's worst shot in to the green and got up and down" for par, Compton said after tying for second place with Rickie Fowler in only his second Open appearance.

"You can't ever give up. We all have adversity in our lives. Some are different than others, some are more major. The up-and-down I made on 18 is an example of never giving up.

"When you have disabilities or health issues, some days are really bad but you have to make the best of it the next day. I've been on my back twice and I never thought I'd ever leave the house, and now I just finished second in the U.S. Open. I don't think anybody would think that, not even myself. You can't give up."

Compton, 34, shot a 72 for a 279 final score. He got as close Sunday as anyone would get to Kaymer, creeping to within 4 strokes after he birdied the long par-4 eighth and Kaymer bogeyed No. 7. But he could not put any additional pressure on the eventual champion.

The finish was his highest on the PGA Tour, and landing in the top four earned him a spot in the 2015 Masters.

"I'm so thrilled to be here playing at this level," he said. "I think I've finally had that feeling of putting myself on the map. I don't think I have anything to prove to anybody any more. If I never play another round of golf, I think I've made my mark in this game."

Far from second

Phil Mickelson hoped he could break through for his first U.S. Open title after six runner-up finishes, but his putter just didn't cooperate and he wound up tied for 28th at 7-over 287 after a final-round 72.

But Mickelson tried to stay positive saying, "I didn't have it all firing this week, but there will be other chances.

"I believe in the next five years I'm going to have three or four really good chances, and I do believe I will get it," he said of winning the championship. "I'm not upset or disappointed. I will have more chances."

Honoring Payne

Justin Rose completed his U.S. Open as defending champion with a birdie putt at the 18th hole, and then paid tribute to Payne Stewart by imitating the one-footed punch through the air that Stewart exhibited when he won the 1999 championship on the same green.

"I did it in practice messing around," said Rose, who fired a 72 and tied for 12th place. "Obviously I just wanted to make the putt. As it was going in, I don't know what makes you make the decision so quickly. But yeah, actually I wanted to."

Rose, last year's Open champion at Merion, added, "It's been a great year. I feel very privileged to have had that trophy for a year and made myself a part of golf history."

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