LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Doctors told Charlie Beljan he was in good enough health to leave the hospital Saturday morning, but perhaps not to play golf. With his job on the line and his name atop the leaderboard for the first time, Beljan ignored the recommendation and was glad he did.
One day after a panic attack so severe that he struggled to breathe and feared for his life, Beljan managed just fine in the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic. Despite a pair of early bogeys, and one nervous moment when he felt his chest tighten, he had 1-under-par 71 that gave him a two-shot lead going into the final round at Disney.
Suddenly, the 28-year-old rookie has a chance to do more than just keep his card. He’s one round away from winning on the PGA Tour.
“I honestly didn’t think I was going to get through it,” Beljan said. “I just stayed strong.”
He stayed overnight in the hospital – with his shoes on for most of the night – and only got about an hour of sleep. This is the final PGA Tour event of the year, and Beljan is at No. 139 on the money list. Only the top 125 keep their cards, and Beljan likely would need to finish around 10th to do that.
Beljan said he started to feel some of the same symptoms from Friday as he approached the turn. He ate a sandwich, tried to calm himself, and back-to-back birdies to start the back nine certainly helped. He closed with six consecutive pars to reach 13-under 203.
That gave him a two-shot lead over former Louisville, Ga., resident Brian Gay (67), Josh Teater (67) and Charlie Wi, who was tied with Beljan until two sloppy bogeys at the end for 70.
LPGA TOUR: In Guadalajara, Mexico, Inbee Park moved into position for her third victory of the year, shooting 6-under-par 66 to take a two-stroke lead into the final round of the Lorena Ochoa Invitational.
Park is at 15-under 201 total at Guadalajara Country Club. Cristie Kerr is second after 67.
EUROPEAN TOUR: In Singapore, Denmark’s Thomas Bjorn shot a second round 4-under-par 67 to move into the lead in the rain-soaked Singapore Open.
He holds a one-stroke advantage over Chris Wood, who shot 65.
Officials are still planning to play 72 holes unless storms cause more delays today.