LEON, Mexico (AP) — 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.
The 31-year-old Compton 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. 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.
After opening with rounds of 68 and 70, Compton shot a 68 on Sunday morning in the completion of the rain-delayed third round to begin the final 18 holes two strokes behind leaders Lee, Matthew Giles and Peter Lonard.
Lee bogeyed the par-5 18th for a 69.
Will Wilcox (68) was third at 14 under, a stroke ahead of Giles (71), Roberto Castro (65), James Nitties (68), Chris Baker (68) and Kyle Thompson (70). Lonard finished with a 73 to tie for 11th at 11 under.