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Golf: Compton misses Open cut as luck runs out

By Tony Jimenez

HOYLAKE England (Reuters) - Lady luck smiled kindly on Erik Compton when he went close to achieving U.S. Open glory last month, but unfortunately she turned her back on the American at this week's British Open.

The 34-year-old, who has had two heart transplants, inexplicably lost a ball early in his second round at Royal Liverpool before a triple-bogey six at the short 15th meant he missed the cut.

"Sometimes the twin elements of good luck and bad luck have to match up in the game of golf and that didn't happen for me this week," Compton told Reuters in an interview after a five-over-par 77 gave him a four-over aggregate of 148.

"It's been a good experience. It's a lot of fun to play a links course but I had two really unlucky breaks.

"I played good this week but you just can't make sixes and sevens in major championships."

Compton's double-bogey seven arrived completely out of the blue at the fifth hole.

"I hit a chip shot and I don't know what happened to it," explained the world number 74 who has yet to record a victory on the U.S. PGA Tour.

"We couldn't find it even though it was only 30 yards - not only that I hurt my wrist on that hole too."

There was barely a dry eye in the house when he finished as runner-up to Germany's Martin Kaymer at the second major of the year in June but Compton acknowledged that he enjoyed a good run of the ball in North Carolina.

"When I played in the U.S. Open some things went my way but they didn't for 36 holes here," he added.

WRIST PROBLEM

"I played steadily today all the way to 15 where I got in a bunker and couldn't get out.

"Because of my damaged wrist it was difficult to be aggressive out of the sand and I couldn't get my ball up over the lip.

"It's still a little swollen now and I might need to get some ice on it. When you swing out of that heavy rough it's dangerous," said Compton.

"I hit the ball fine this week, hit a lot of fairways, my iron play was good, I never short-sided myself but unfortunately it was just a week that whenever I missed a shot I was really penalised."

Compton's life story is a remarkable one because, at the age of nine, he was diagnosed with a condition that leaves the heart inflamed and unable to pump as hard as it should.

The American underwent his first heart transplant in 1992 at the age of 12. He then suffered a heart attack in 2007 before undergoing a second transplant in 2008.

Compton has permission to use a golf cart in competition but generally avoids it.

He made only his third major championship appearance this week and said there were some similarities between Royal Liverpool and the Pinehurst No. 2 course in North Carolina.

"It was kind of like last month's U.S. Open where sometimes you could get rewarded going into the rough and sometimes you wouldn't," he added.

"There are also a lot of patchy areas on this course so sometimes you can find a decent line and other times you can get a bad break and end up unplayable."

Compton said if he could turn back the clock and start his British Open campaign again from scratch, he might do things differently.

"Maybe I should have decided not to hit driver on a lot of the holes and just played for par but that's difficult because so many great players out here are going low," he explained.

"I think I probably tried to press a little bit today. My strategy early on was to try and force it.

"It was windy early and I tried to hit the ball as far as I could. The only thing is I found unplayable lies so you just have to try and forget and move on," said Compton.

"I felt very comfortable out there. I learned a lot and I'm looking forward to coming back."

(Editing by Toby Davis)

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