There were times over the course of the Children’s Miracle Network Classic that Charlie Beljan looked like he would need a miracle in order to finish, let alone win the tournament.
On Friday, the PGA Tour rookie looked on the verge of fainting as he labored around the golf course under the watchful eye of Tour paramedics, whom he summoned multiple times during his round.
The trouble for Beljan began on the practice range Friday when he began experiencing a pronounced shortness of breath. In an incredible display of grit, determination and desire, Beljan made it around the Palm Course in an 8-under 64.
Though not on nearly so grand a stage, Beljan’s performance Friday was reminiscent of Tiger Woods’ exhibition of tenacity and will-power as he battled though a severely damaged left leg at the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines in 2007.
Taken unceremoniously from the scorer’s tent to the hospital by stretcher, Beljan spent Friday the night under observation—reportedly with golf shoes on— as doctors ran multiple tests. They determined that nothing was medically wrong with him, but advised Beljan against continuing play in the tournament.
Beljan said there was too much at stake for him to quit. He entered the event in the 139th position on the PGA Tour money list, and needed to move into the top 125 in order to secure his PGA Tour card for 2013. He blamed his agonizing episode on a prolonged and nearly debilitating panic attack, the most severe of the attacks that he said he had been battling in recent weeks.
Beljan said he felt like he was on the verge of death in an interview after the third round. But the day after his sleepless night in a hospital bed, Beljan posted a 1-under 71 Saturday to maintain his lead. The task ahead of him on Sunday remained daunting, however. He was attempting to win his first PGA Tour event.
Beljan made it to the back nine with a four shot lead over Charlie Wi, and finished the day two shots ahead of Matt Every and Robert Garrigus to claim his first title on Tour. In doing so, he moved to the 69th position on the money list, securing his tour card for the next two years.
Miraculous? No. But magical? Certainly.