Ailing Beljan leads by 3 at Disney World
Lake Buena Vista, FL (Sports Network) - Charlie Beljan played through a health scare on Friday and somehow fired an 8-under 64, which gave him a 3-stroke lead after two rounds of the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals Classic.
Beljan finished 36 holes at 12-under-par 132 after his second-best round of his tour career.
In many aspects, this may have been the best round of his life though. Beljan battled an elevated heart rate and shortness of breath that actually started on the driving range before the round. He received medical attention throughout the round.
Several times in the latter part of the round, Beljan either went down to a knee or sat on the ground to try to catch his breath.
"It got kind of scary. I've got to give Charlie credit for what he did and how he finished," said Beljan's caddie Rick Adcox in an interview with Golf Channel. "I thought he was going to quit a few times. He'd sit on the bag a few times, he laid down a few times. Unbelievable that he hung in there."
What makes the situation even tougher for Beljan is that he stands 139th on the money list and this is the last event of the year. Only the top 125 on the money list will retain their PGA Tour cards for next year. Beljan needs to finish 13th or better to get inside the top 125.
As he walked to the scoring area, Beljan was seen on television breaking down in tears. After signing his scorecard, he received more medical attention and was eventually taken from the course in an ambulance.
Matt Jones matched Beljan's 64 on the Palm Course at Walt Disney World Resort. Jones moved into a tie for second place at minus-9. He stands alongside Charles Howell III and Henrik Stenson, who both had 67s on the Palm, as well as Ryuji Imada (66), first-round leader Charlie Wi (71), Mark D. Anderson (67) and Harris English (67), who all played their second rounds on the Magnolia Course at Walt Disney World Resort.
Camilo Villegas, who stands 150th on the money list, posted a 1-under 71 and is among 10 players tied for ninth at 8-under-par 137.
Before he started to really struggle physically, Beljan was on fire. He opened with an eagle at the first, then came back with birdies on the third and fifth.
Beljan birdied the par-5 seventh move to minus-9. Around the turn, he rolled in an 8-footer for birdie at the 10th and followed with a 10-foot eagle putt at 11.
That jumped him into the lead at 12-under. After tripping to a bogey on the 12th, Beljan found sand off the tee at 13. However, he got up and down for birdie.
Shortly after that, Beljan sought medical assistance. After talking with the medical staff, he played on. At the 14th, he 2-putted for birdie on the par-5.
Beljan stumbled to a 3-putt bogey at 17, then parred the last to lead by three.
After signing his card, Beljan remained in the scoring area for about 20 minutes before being taken to a nearby ambulance, which then took him to the hospital.
If Beljan is unable to continue, that would open the door for the likes of Anderson, Jones and Imada, who rank 170th, 177th and 183rd, respectively, on the money list.
Anderson had four birdies in a 6-hole span from the second. On the back nine, he carded three birdies to go along with two late bogeys.
Jones had back-to-back birdies from the 13th. The Australian poured in four consecutive birdies from the 17th. That run ended with a bogey at the third, but Jones responded with three birdies in the next four holes to grab a share of second.
Imada had three birdies in the first four holes before he faltered to a bogey at the fifth. He carded four birdies between the ninth and 15th to move to minus-9.
NOTES: This is Beljan's 22nd career PGA Tour start, and he gained his tour card for this season through Q School ... Four of the six past champions that started the week made the cut with Robert Garrigus (T-9) closest to the lead ... The cut line fell at 1-under-par 143 with 78 players moving on to the weekend ... Rod Pampling and Billy Mayfair, who started the week Nos. 124 and 125 on the money list, both missed the cut and are in jeopardy of losing their tour card for next year, while Heath Slocum, Bart Bryant, Duffy Waldorf, Lee Janzen and Rich Beem all missed the cut and will finish outside the top 125 on the money list.
11/09 19:12:33 ET