LA QUINTA, Calif. -- For once, the hardest part about the week for Erik Compton is simply the golf.
"I'm fully recovered from everything I've gone through, my weight is higher than it has ever been and I don't seem to get as fatigued as much as I did in the past," the double heart transplant recipient said. "That's a big thing for me."
Even bigger would be if Compton can secure his PGA TOUR card for a second straight season.
Last year, Compton earned his card by finishing in the top 25 on the Web.com Tour money list. This year, he's in good position to do so via q-school, though a triple bogey late Saturday left him in a tie for 24th through four rounds.
The top 25 and ties after six rounds get cards.
"When you play and know there's no cut, there's no sense of urgency," Compton said. "You have to let the round come to you. Sometimes in a TOUR event you're 10 back before you even tee off. Here, you have to get a piece of the pie every day. If you can get a big piece in one round and one round you get a little piece, that's just the way it is."
That was sometimes easier said than done for Compton, who battled fatigue much of the year, twice playing at least four consecutive weeks and once going as many as six straight without a rest.
For most players in Compton's position on TOUR, it wouldn't be a big deal. For a guy who's on his third heart, it is.
Several times this season, Compton found himself exhausted after a round, and it affected his play.
Who could blame him?
With the end of the season, though, came some much-needed rest. Compton didn't touch a club for a week prior to the final stage of q-school, and he doesn't spend much time on the range before or after his rounds here.
Compton also added experienced caddie Ron Levin, who had been on David Duval's bag until he got hurt.
The break in play also gave Compton time to review his season. What he noticed was that he was one of only three players in the top 50 in driving distance this season that didn't keep his card.
"That just shows you have to be a little more patient around the greens," Compton said. "Most guys who are hitting it long are getting the job done.
"I played very well. All I need is a good, solid week."
Which is exactly what he's had -- so far.
That, combined with Compton's experience, has helped his mental state in a place that can wear thin on the nerves quickly.
"I've been in this position more than most guys," he said. "Regardless of what happens here I know how to run my business. I know how to make a living, so I'm not freaking out. You see some guys freaking out because they don't know what to expect. Sometimes it takes years to figure it out."
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- Erik Compton