Frightening finish for Charlie Beljan
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Shooting 64 is impressive enough, but doing so while dealing with enough distress to cause hospitalization is something altogether different.
It was somewhat surreal and certainly scary on Friday afternoon at the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals Classic, where PGA Tour rookie Charlie Beljan required medical assistance throughout his round and then was taken on a stretcher to an ambulance afterward.
Beljan, 28, was playing some of his best golf of the year at a time when he needs it the most. He is 139th on the PGA Tour money list, meaning he is not exempt for 2013. The tournament at the Walt Disney World Resort is the final event of the season, and Beljan is hoping to move into the top 125 to secure his playing privileges.
All of that took on far less importance Friday evening as Beljan was at Celebration Hospital, his condition unclear. He had complained of shortness of breath, chest pains and dizziness. His caddie, Rick Adcox, said Beljan also cited numbness in his arms.
Beljan's agent sent a text to the PGA Tour on Friday night hopeful the 36-hole leader would be healthy enough to play the remainder of the tournament.
Somehow Beljan shot his second-best score of the year, surpassed by only the second-round 62 he carded at the Greenbrier Classic in July. He finished tied for third at the event, one of just two top-10s this season.
His round Friday included two eagles and six birdies and gave him a 3-stroke lead over seven players who were tied for second.
"It got kind of scary," Adcox said. "I gotta give Charlie a lot of credit for what he did. He finished. I thought he was going to quit out there a few times. He sat on the bag a few times. He laid down a few times. Unbelievable. It actually started at the beginning.
"I thought a lot of times he was going to stop. I didn't think he was even going to start. He asked me to go find a doctor at the beginning and I did. The paramedics came over. We called them at the turn, and on No. 10 they were waiting on him. Blood pressure wasn't good then. For him to go on, that was pretty much his decision."
After making a bogey at the 17th hole, Beljan walked off the green and went down to his knees. He stayed there for several moments, medics attending to him, and he finally went to the 18th tee. After hitting his drive, he hit probably his worst shot of the day, missing the green well to the left.
But he somehow got it up and down for a par to cap off his 64, making a 5-footer.
He quickly walked off the green and was seen crying as he entered the scoring area, where medics attended to him as he signed his scorecard. After several minutes, Beljan was wheeled out on stretcher to a waiting ambulance.
Beljan made it onto the PGA Tour this year by qualifying at the 2011 qualifying tournament. He made just eight cuts in 21 starts. He has made $527,528, to rank 139th on the money list.
Only the top 125 finishers on the money list will be exempt in 2013, which made his good start to the tournament imperative.
Adcox said that Beljan complained of numbness in his arms and that he felt like he was going to faint.
"He called for a medic when we were making the turn, so I knew he had some problems," said the other PGA Tour pro in the group, Ed Loar. "He sure was playing golf. He was scary good. He hit four of the best iron shots I've ever seen on par-5s. It was pretty awesome.
"Sometimes it's good, as you're not really worried about your golf. You're just worried about finishing. But obviously for him, it's beyond that right now. I hope he's OK."
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