Erik Compton reaches final stage

Two-time heart transplant recipient Erik Compton and former teen phenom Ty Tryon are among the players who advanced Saturday to the final stage of the PGA Tour Qualifying Tournament.

Compton, 31, suffered a heart attack three years ago, necessitating a second heart transplant in the spring of 2008. He made national headlines when he made it through a first-stage qualifier with the aid of a golf cart just five months later.

Playing at Hombre Golf Club in Panama City Beach, Fla., Compton finished seventh in the 72-hole second-stage qualifier, where the top 19 and ties advance to the 108-hole final which begins Dec. 1 near Orlando.

Tryon, 26, tied for 13th at a qualifier in Brooksville, Fla. In 2001, at age 17, Tryon advanced through all three stages of the qualifying tournament to earn his PGA Tour card for 2002. But he failed to keep it and has yet to return to the PGA Tour, bouncing around various mini tours for the last several years.

In June, both Compton and Tryon qualified for the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, where Compton missed the cut and Tryon tied for 80th. It was Tryon's first PGA Tour event since 2003.

Doug Barron, whose year-long suspension for failing a drug test recently ended (he has since been granted a waiver to take testosterone) failed to advance out of a second-stage qualifier near Houston.

Dicky Pride and Glen Day are former tour winners who advanced from the Panama City event. Another former winner, Will MacKenzie, made it out of Brooksville.

In all, there were six second-stage qualifiers around the country this week, with approximately 20 players advancing to Q-School finals from each.

Anyone who makes it to the six-day qualifying finals is guaranteed conditional status on the Nationwide Tour, the PGA Tour's developmental circuit.

The top 25 and ties at Q-School will earn their PGA Tour cards for 2011, with the next 50 earning exempt status on the Nationwide Tour.

Bob Harig covers golf for ESPN.com.