Compton, Every share Greenbrier lead

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, Last Updated: 10:33 AM ET

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.V. -- Erik Compton, the two-time heart transplant recipient, fired a seven-under 63 Thursday to share the first-round lead with Matt Every at The Greenbrier Classic.

Playing on another sponsor's exemption and still battling stamina issues, Compton birdied nine of his last 15 holes for a career-best score on the PGA Tour.

Finishing his round after an 80-minute weather delay, Every matched his career low to tie Compton. He missed a 10-foot birdie putt on his last hole with a chance to take the lead by himself.

Jeff Overton, George McNeill and Pat Perez shared third place at six-under 64, while Brendon de Jonge, Charles Howell III, Aron Price, Matt Bettencourt and John Rollins all shot 65.

Compton's previous best score was a 67 in the first round of the Mayakoba Golf Classic in February.

"I'm not thinking about winning," he said. "I'm just thinking about one shot at a time and getting through the weekend."

Compton, of course, has had bigger things on his mind.

He was diagnosed as a child with cardiomyopathy, a disease of the heart muscle, and received his first heart transplant when he was 12 years old. The second came in 2008.

Now 30, Compton is not just chasing his first win, he's grinding his way towards earning full-time playing privileges on the PGA or Nationwide Tour after losing so much time -- about four years in his late-20s -- to illness.

"In some aspect, I look at myself as an old guy," said Compton. "I also look at myself as a young guy in a career playing golf."

Compton has tried to make the best of his playing opportunities this season, which include six previous starts on the PGA Tour. He has also played two European Tour events in the Middle East and made one start on the Nationwide Tour.

He is playing this week for the third time since the U.S. Open, where his condition was thrust into the spotlight on one of golf's biggest stages. He shot 77-81 at Pebble Beach, the first of three straight missed cuts.

Compton likes to say that he knows he's supposed to shoot bad scores, but that isn't the way he feels things have been going for him recently.

"I was getting some bad breaks, and it was hard to take advantage of plugged lies and things like that," he said.

"Some guys miss six, seven cuts in a row and then win. I know I'm a good player, and I have a lot of the adversity in front of me with the game and health. But I always feel like if I stick in there and keep trying, something eventually good is gonna happen."

He found trouble early on The Old White Course with back-to-back bogeys at the second and third holes. But Compton made nine birdies and six pars the rest of the way.

"I hit some really close shots, a couple good putts, and I guess the round just kind of developed like that," he said.

Among his birdies was a 30-foot putt at No. 5 and "it was pretty much a blur after that," Compton said. "I was taking one shot at a time."

Compton knocked his second shot at the 572-yard 17th about 18 yards short of the green, pitched to three feet and rolled in the birdie putt to move atop the leaderboard by himself.

The round was delayed for 80 minutes because of threatening weather conditions, and when the second half of the draw returned to the course, Every made his move.

He finished off a birdie at the 17th -- his eighth hole -- with a four-foot putt to move within two shots of Compton's lead.

Every followed with a 14-footer at the 18th for his third straight birdie, polishing off a 30 on the back nine that also included a 15-foot eagle putt at the par-five 12th.

He followed that with five straight pars, then rolled in a 14-foot birdie putt at the sixth hole to tie Compton at seven-under.

"I drove it great and then made some putts," said Every. "My irons were pretty standard, but I ... was in play every hole. So it was nice."

Every earned his PGA Tour card by winning the season-ending Nationwide Tour Championship last October. He denied possessing marijuana after being arrested, along with two other people, at a hotel two days before the start of John Deere Classic earlier this month.

NOTES: This is the first year of this event...Compton and Every both earned their first 18-hole leads on the PGA Tour...Every also shot a 63 in the first round of the Phoenix Open in February...Justin Leonard (67), Jim Furyk (68), Sergio Garcia (68), John Daly (69) and David Toms (70) are some of the bigger names in the field.


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