Heart transplant recipient Compton earns PGA card
Two-time heart transplant recipient Erik Compton earned a PGA Tour card when he finished in the top 25 on the Nationwide Tour money list, while Ken Duke won the season-ended Nationwide Tour Championship on Sunday in Charleston, S.C., to also secure a spot on the big tour.
Duke closed with a 4-under 68 to finish at 10 under on Daniel Island Club's Ralston Creek Course, two better than Scott Brown. The 42-year-old Duke earned $180,000 and went from 36th to seventh on the money list.
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Compton wasn't sure he'd ever play pro golf, let alone be member of the PGA Tour. Yet he finished off his dream Sunday. Compton mostly secured his spot in June when he won his first Nationwide title at the Mexico Open. He ended 13th overall with $239,737 to advance.
The 31-year-old Compton has played 30 career PGA events, but none with a tour card in his bag. "It's a miracle," he said. "It really is a miracle what I've been able to achieve."
J.J. Killeen won the money title, which made him fully exempt on the PGA Tour and gave him entry into the The Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass in May.
And the day ended with some drama as Brown made a long par-saving putt on the 17th and birdie on the 18th to finish alone in second when a bogey down the stretch would've dropped Billy Hurley III from the final qualifying spot at No. 25.
Hurley is a former Naval lieutenant who was on active duty in the Persian Gulf guarding Iraqi oil platforms two years ago.
Compton was diagnosed at age 9 with cardiomyopathy, an enlarging of the heart that deters its ability to pump blood. Three years later in 1992, Compton received a new heart. He needed another donor heart in 2008 when the first one failed.
Compton took up golf after his first transplant as a way to exercise. It's turned into much, much more.
"This game has been such a rehab for life for me, where I could go out and not think about the issues I have," he said.
Compton had another setback after playing in the PGA Tour's AT&T National in July when his body rejected his heart, something doctors got under control with additional medicine. He took several weeks off. His tie for 18th at Daniel Island was his best placing since the win in Mexico.
"I came in here and just till the end I was pretty frustrated because I really wanted to play well and have a top finish," Compton said. "At the end of the day, we're all perfectionists."
■ U.S. Open champion Rory McIlroy won $2 million in the Shanghai Masters, beating Anthony Kim on the first hole of a playoff.
■ Sergio Garcia held off fellow Spaniard Miguel Angel Jimenez by a stroke in the Andalucia Masters in Spain for his second straight European Tour victory.
■ Bo Van Pelt ran away with the Asia Pacific Classic in Malaysia, birdieing five of the last eight holes for a six-stroke victory.
Borel guides Motor City to win at Churchill
Motor City caught pace-setting Seven Lively Sins at the eighth pole and drew off to win the Grade III, $110,700 Iroquois for 2-year-olds by three-quarters of a length on opening day at Churchill Downs. Ridden by Calvin Borel, Motor City lagged at the back of the field of seven as Seven Lively Sins led the field. At the head of the stretch, Seven Lively Sins shook off challenges from Fine and Chalybeate Springs as Borel skimmed the rail on Motor City with dead aim on the leader. With a clear path, Motor City caught Seven Lively Sins with a furlong to go en route to completing the mile on a fast main track in 1:37.18.
A son from the first crop of Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense, Motor City improved his record to 2-1-1 in five races.
"He ran like his daddy," Borel said. "We knew he was a good one all along and (trainer) Ian (Wilkes) never gave up on him. We hope to be here next year (for the Kentucky Derby)."
On Fire Baby held off a late charge from And Why Not to win the Grade II, $173,400 Pocahontas for 2-year-old fillies by three-quarters of a length.
■ Belmont Park canceled its Sunday card in the aftermath of the storm that pelted the area with ice, snow and rain. Sunday was to be the final day of the track's fall meet. Javier Castellano won his first riding title in New York since 2007. He edged Ramon Dominguez by two victories. David Jacobson was the leading trainer with 15 victories and Flying Zee Stables was the leading owner with 12.
Men's soccer shuts out No. 15 SMU
Kentucky's men's soccer team scored twice in the first eight minutes and went on to defeat 15th-ranked SMU 2-0 on Sunday afternoon at the UK Soccer Complex. The Wildcats had to play down a man the final 62 minutes after senior Josh Mulvany got a red card for colliding with SMU's goalkeeper.
Kentucky (9-9-1, 2-5-0 Conference USA) got goals from Mulvaney and C.J. Tappel. Sophomore keeper Tyler Beadle saved six shots to earn his second shutout of the season.
■ Sophomore Emily Holsopple posted a school-record 597 points in air rifle to lead the No. 2 Kentucky rifle team past conference foe Memphis 4,711-4,633, Sunday at UK's Barker Hall. The Wildcats' team total was also a record, breaking the previous mark of 4,700, set during the 2010-11 NCAA Championships.
■ Led by sophomore Cody Martin's 4-under par 68 in the final round of the UNCG Bridgestone Golf Collegiate in Greensboro, N.C., Kentucky's men's golf team surged from a tie for 12th to finish in a tie for sixth. Martin moved from a tie for 72nd to a tie for 15th.
Ex-Holmes star to play at Marshall
Elijah Pittman, a 6-foot-8 forward at Lamar State-Port Arthur Junior College in Texas, committed to play at Marshall. The former Holmes star helped the Bulldogs to the 2009 Sweet 16 state title.
"I love that town," Pittman told HerdNation.com after a visit to Huntington this past weekend. "They love Marshall basketball and I am so close to my family and mom."
Pittman averaged 13.1 points and 5.1 rebounds as a freshman at at Chipola College in Florida last season.
■ Kansas guards Tyshawn Taylor and Elijah Johnson were suspended for violating team rules and will miss both of the No. 13 Jayhawks' exhibition games.
■ Following in former Bryan Station star Shelvin Mack's footsteps, Serena Sandusky, a 5-foot-9 junior guard for the Defenders, committed to play at Butler University, The Courier-Journal reported. Sandusky averaged 14.8 points and 6.5 rebounds last season.
Reliever Lopez agrees to deal with Giants
Left-handed reliever Javier Lopez agreed to an $8.5 million, two-year contract to stay with the San Francisco Giants, who also have picked up the $5 million contract option for fellow lefty reliever Jeremy Affeldt.
Lopez has gone 7-2 with a 2.38 ERA in 97 appearances since being acquired in a trade from Pittsburgh in 2010. Affeldt, who is healing well from a season-ending hand injury sustained when he seriously cut himself trying to separate frozen hamburgers during an off day Sept. 8, went 3-2 with a 2.63 ERA and three saves.
The last word
NASCAR driver A.J. Allmendinger, who led twice for 19 laps and finished 11th Sunday at Martinsville Speedway in Virginia, had this to say about the physicality on the short track:
"It was unbelievable. It was insane. That's the way NASCAR is now. Everybody is desperate. We've got to fight for everything we can get out there. Sponsors, points, money, etc., so everybody is trying to get everything."