- Bob Harig, Senior Golf Writer
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KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. -- Erik Compton will likely have to do something Friday he has so far been unable to accomplish at first-stage qualifying for the PGA Tour: shoot under par.
Compton, 28, who five months ago had his second heart transplant, shot 77 on Thursday at Crandon Golf Club and is in a tie for 56th after three rounds of the 72-hole qualifier.
The top 23 and ties will advance to a second-stage qualifying site for another 72-hole tournament next month. From there, the top finishers advance to the finals -- a 90-hole, six-day event with the top 25 and ties receiving their 2009 PGA Tour card, while others earn Nationwide Tour status.
Compton is at 226, 12 over par, and stands seven shots removed from the final qualifying spot, which is currently at 5 over par.
Bob Harig covers golf for ESPN.com. He can be reached at BobHarig@gmail.com.