Compton still rolling after Riviera

Erik Compton

Erik Compton’s travel schedule the past couple days has been unenviable. The same can’t be said about his position on the leaderboard at the Nationwide Tour’s season-opening Panama Claro Championship.

Compton shot 64 Thursday and was tied for the lead when he completed his round. Compton, who was the event’s seventh alternate, got into the field Monday, arrived in Panama on Wednesday and did not play a practice round.

He Monday qualified for last week’s Northern Trust Open on the PGA Tour, shooting a final-round 64 to tie for 25th at Riviera. It was the best PGA Tour finish of Compton’s career, and worth $51,837.

He took a red-eye flight from Los Angeles, leaving at 10:30 p.m. Sunday and arriving in Miami early Monday. When he awoke from a nap around noon, he saw an email from the PGA Tour informing him he was in the Panama field.

Compton didn’t rush to Central America, though. Tuesday was the second birthday of his daughter, Petra. The Comptons celebrated with about 40 people at their home. “I was in charge of setting up the trampoline,” he said. He awoke about 4 a.m. Wednesday to catch a flight from Miami to Panama, then slept in his hotel room as his caddie walked the course.

After teeing off at 8:20 a.m. Thursday, Compton birdied his first five holes, all on putts of less than 10 feet, to shoot 29 on his front nine. He had one birdie and one bogey on the back nine.

“I feel a lot better right now than I did the first two holes,” he said. That’s what a bunch of birdies will do for you.

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