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Ailing Beljan up by Three in Disney


Despite physical problems that threatened his withdrawal from the tournament, Charlie Beljan fired an 8-under 64 to take a three-stroke lead in the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals Classic. The $4.7 million event, the final full-field tournament of the year on the PGA Tour, began Thursday on the Magnolia and Palm courses in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

Beljan, a 28-year-old Tour rookie from Arizona, carded six birdies, two eagles - both on par-5s - and a pair of bogeys on the Palm course. After opening with a 68 on Magnolia, he stands at 12-under 132, three strokes ahead of seven players.

Beljan had problems breathing before starting his rounds, and even told his caddie, Rick Adcox, that he might be dying, complaining of an elevated heart rate, shortness of breath and heart palpitations. Right after signing his remarkable scorecard, Beljan got on a stretcher and was taken by ambulance to a nearby hospital.

"I think he was scared," Adcox told PGATour.com, adding that Beljan said he had numbness in his arms and thought he was going to faint. "He kept saying he thought he was going to die. He just had that feeling. I don't know why. But it was spooky."

Beljan's playing partner, Edward Loar, told PGATour.com, "It was bizarre. I don't know if he thought he was going to make it. It sure didn't affect his golf. I heard him call for a paramedic on No. 9. Before the round, he said he was having a hard time breathing. Hopefully, the guy was all right. He was having a hard time breathing in there."

Beljan ranked 139th on the money list before starting the Disney. Only the top-125 finishers at the end of the tournament are guaranteed a Tour card for next year. "I thought a lot of times he was going to stop," Adcox told PGATour.com. "I didn't even think he was going to start. He asked me to go find a doctor at the beginning, and I did. The paramedics . . . were on No. 10 waiting on him. Blood pressure wasn't good then. For him to go on, that was pretty much his decision."

Added an amazed Loar, "He hit four of the best iron shots I've seen on the par-5s. It was awesome to watch."

ESPN.com reported that Beljan's agent, Andy Dawson, gave an update later Friday on his player's status. "He's waiting on some tests," said Dawson. "He's feeling a lot better and hopefully will be discharged this evening, but not for sure."

The big concern is whether Beljan can recover to play on the weekend and take advantage of his three-shot edge over Ryuji Imada (66 on Magnolia), Harris English (67 Magnolia), Matt Jones (64 Palm), first-round leader Charlie Wi (71 Magnolia), Charles Howell III (67 Palm), Mark Anderson (67 Magnolia) and Henrik Stenson (67 Palm).

Ten players - including Tommy Gainey and Camilo Villegas, who started the second round a stroke behind Wi - are tied for ninth at 136.

The cut was set at 1-under 143. Among those heading home are PGA Tour veterans Chad Campbell, Duffy Waldorf, Mike Weir, Billy Mayfair, Rocco Mediate, Dean Wilson, Robert Allenby, Rory Sabbatini, Lee Janzen, Trevor Immelman and Rich Beem.

For complete scoring, visit http://www.pgatour.com/r/leaderboard.