Double heart transplant recipient gets first tourney win
Two-time heart transplant recipient Erik Compton won the Mexico Open for his first Nationwide Tour title, closing with a 7-under 65 on Sunday for a two-stroke victory over Richard H. Lee. Compton, 31, was diagnosed at age 9 with cardiomyopathy, an enlarging of the heart that hinders its ability to pump blood. Three years later in 1992, he received a new heart. That one failed in 2008, and the former University of Georgia star had another transplant.
"This tournament has kind of summed up my life," Compton said. "There was a lot of adversity to overcome in this tournament just like what I've dealt with personally.
"To win this is everything to me. I never thought I'd play golf again, at least not at this level, and I proved to myself I'm more than just a guy with two heart transplants."
Compton finished at 17-under 271 on the El Bosque Country Club course in Leon, Mexico. He earned $126,000 to jump from 15th to second on the money list with $215,709, nearly guaranteeing a 2012 PGA Tour card as a top-25 finisher on the developmental tour. He also has made $83,962 this year in four PGA Tour starts.
"I do get a lot of opportunities to play in PGA Tour events because of my story," he said. "But now that I've won out here and I've pretty much secured my tour card and I'll get into events on that alone. And I've been playing professionally since I was 20 years old and never won, so I feel like it's a monkey off my back."
Compton had eight birdies and a bogey in the final round. He birdied the par-4 16th to get to 17 under, then parred the final two holes.
Filly wins 1st leg of Canadian Triple Crown
Inglorious beat Hippolytus by 2½ lengths in the $1 million Queen's Plate on Sunday at Woodbine to become the first filly in 10 years to win the first leg of Canada's Triple Crown. Inglorious, ridden by Luis Contreras and trained by Josie Carroll, ran 1¼ miles in 2:02.63 and paid $11, $6.40 and $4.70 for her third straight victory and fifth in seven career starts.
"This is just a dream, and I still don't believe it yet," owner Vern Dubinsky said. "I'm thrilled to death."
The second leg of the Triple Crown is the Prince of Wales Stakes on July 17 at Fort Erie, and the final event is the Breeders' Stakes turf race Aug. 7 at Woodbine.
Ex-Cat Abney says keep kickoffs
Former Kentucky wide receiver Derek Abney wants to keep kickoffs — and kickoff returns — as part of the college game. Abney, drafted by the Baltimore Ravens in 2004, told WLEX-TV in Lexington that a proposal by Rutgers Coach Greg Schiano would eliminate the most exciting play in the game. Schiano's proposal, similar to an idea floated by Georgia Coach Mark Richt, would eliminate the kickoff from college football. Both Schiano and Richt have had players injured during kickoffs in recent years. Abney, who spent two years in the NFL, returned two kickoffs for touchdowns while becoming an All-America special teams player at Kentucky as a kick and punt returner. Abney said eliminating kickoffs and special teams would take away chances from younger players to get on the field.
"A lot of the kids that play ball, especially the younger ones, that's their opportunity to get on the field. So it would be a shame to take that away from them," Abney told the TV station.
"Not having the kicking game is a travesty if you took that from the football game."
The last word
Former Kentucky center Josh Harrellson took in a WNBA game in New York on Sunday, three days after he was drafted by the Hornets and traded to the Knicks. He recalled for a local reporter his infamous Twitter posts that got him in trouble with UK Coach John Calipari before last season. Calipari forced him to run sprints every day for a month, but Harrellson said he can laugh all the way to the bank about it now:
"That was the smartest dumb thing I've ever done in my life."