Sports

Erik Compton, in a familiar place, measures progress differently from other players

  • Padraig Harrington, of Ireland, watches his tee shot on the ninth hole during the first round of the McGladrey Classic golf tournament on Thursday, Oct. 23, 2014, in St. Simons Island, Ga. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton)

    Padraig Harrington, of Ireland, watches his tee shot on the ninth hole during the first round of the McGladrey Classic golf tournament on Thursday, Oct. 23, 2014, in St. Simons Island, Ga. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton)  (The Associated Press)

  • Gonzalo Fdez-Castano, of Spain, reacts to his shot off the ninth tee during the first round of the McGladrey Classic golf tournament on Thursday, Oct. 23, 2014, in St. Simons Island, Ga. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton)

    Gonzalo Fdez-Castano, of Spain, reacts to his shot off the ninth tee during the first round of the McGladrey Classic golf tournament on Thursday, Oct. 23, 2014, in St. Simons Island, Ga. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton)  (The Associated Press)

  • Davis Love III hits out of the bunker on the ninth fairway during the first round of the McGladrey Classic golf tournament Thursday, Oct. 23, 2014, in St. Simons Island, Ga. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton)

    Davis Love III hits out of the bunker on the ninth fairway during the first round of the McGladrey Classic golf tournament Thursday, Oct. 23, 2014, in St. Simons Island, Ga. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton)  (The Associated Press)

Erik Compton made two quick birdies in the morning chill and wound up with a 5-under 65. He was among three players tied for the early lead Thursday in the McGladrey Classic.

Compton has some history in these parts. He played in an SEC Championship at Sea Island while at Georgia, and he was on the 2001 Walker Cup team at nearby Ocean Forest. Now he is 34 and still looking for his first win, though Compton says he didn't realize 13 years ago the "hurdles" he would face.

By hurdles, he is talking about a second heart transplant in 2008 in which he nearly died.

Compton not only recovered, he finally earned a PGA Tour card and has improved each of the last three years. The next step is winning.