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Beljan to Play Saturday
Although he got only one hour of sleep and spent the night in a hospital, Charlie Beljan will tee off in the third round of the $4.7 million Children's Miracle Network Hospitals Classic. The PGA Tour's final full-field tournament of the year is being held on the Magnolia and Palm courses in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
In one of the most amazing performances ever witnessed at a PGA Tour event, Beljan, a 28-year-old Tour rookie, fired an 8-under 64 Friday despite suffering from shortness of breath, heart palpitations and often nearly passing out. On numerous occasions the Arizona native wobbled as he walked, teetered as he stood, and sat - or laid - down on the turf grass in between shots.
His 64 Friday gave Beljan a a two-round total of 12-under 132 and a three-stroke lead in the tournament. Ranked 139th on the money list before the Disney - only the top 125 finishers are guaranteed a Tour card for 2013, Beljan, like other people on the "bubble," is under considerable stress and suffered a debilitating panic attack before and during Friday's round that several times nearly forced him to withdraw.
Besides needing to play well to secure his livelihood for next year, Beljan is married; his wife Merisa recently delivered a baby son, Graham. In a Q&A with reporters Saturday morning, Beljan said he will to put all those concerns aside and do his best in the third round.
He's slated to tee off on the Magnolia Course's first hole at 10:55 a.m. (EST) with two of the seven players chasing him from a three-stroke deficit - Ryuji Imada and Harris English. Here's what Beljan told reporters about the previous 24 hours and one of the strangest rounds by a touring pro in recent memory.
Q. The last time we saw Charlie Beljan, you were being loaded into an ambulance here at the golf course at Walt Disney World. Can you give us a timeline as to how the rest of the night went?
CHARLIE BELJAN: It was a long night. I got about an hour of sleep. I stayed the night in the hospital. They ran all the bunch of different CAT scans, X rays, blood work making sure that everything was okay. The end result was that they think that everything was okay. That's why I'm here today. Still not feeling that great, but shoot, the position I'm in, it's kind of hard not to show up. But an hour of sleep, and you know, 10:55 we'll give it a whirl, give it our best shot.
Q. You mentioned CAT scans, X rays, blood tests. Any other procedures they did last night?
CHARLIE BELJAN: If they did, I did not know about them. But it was a long night, it was no sleep, a lot of racket. Freezing in those hospitals. Shoot, I slept in my golf shoes until 4:30 I was in my golf shoes I shouldn't say I slept in them because I was awake not guilty 4:30 this morning before I finally got them off. That was probably the hardest day of my life. Actually, to get through it was pretty good.
Q. But no diagnosis. I mean I know these things are often difficult for doctors to figure out. There was nothing they told you at the end of all this?
CHARLIE BELJAN: No. Nothing really. Maybe an anxiety or panic attack that kind of spun out of control having to fight it for six hours or so. But yeah, as far as blood work, the CAT scan, the lungs, the heart, everything was wonderful, which is a huge relief. But still, I'm going to have to go back out there and kind of face the feelings today.
Q. What were you advised from the doctors as far as playing golf?
CHARLIE BELJAN: Well, they released me this morning, and they wouldn't have done that. They released me saying that they thought I was good enough maybe not to go play golf, but at least to leave the hospital. I'm making the decision to come out here and play. Who knows if we'll last two holes. Who knows if we'll last 18 holes. We're just going to take it one shot at a time, which I did yesterday and ended up pretty good. So yeah, a little nerve wracking going out there today just strictly for the way that I'm feeling. I haven't even thought about the three shot lead or the golf really. It's been my health is the No. 1 thing. Without that it's kind of hard to play golf. So I look forward to the opportunity and see what we can do with this.
Q. Were you given any red flags, you or your caddie or your agent, things to look for that if X happens, you need to think about shutting it down?
CHARLIE BELJAN: Yeah, you know, if I start I think I started hyper ventilating a little bit yesterday and got my arms tingling and that, but I think it's just mind over matter. If I can keep my mind straight and keep thinking in the right direction and not let my body take over what it thinks is actually happening, then I think I'll be okay.
Q. Is there a history of this, you or your family?
CHARLIE BELJAN: No. There's no history of it. Coming home from the Reno Tahoe tournament I actually passed out on the airplane. And since then I haven't been quite the same. And I've gone and had a million tests done, and all the results come back that I'm as healthy as can be. I think it's just a little bit mental. And that really did scare me to pass out on the airplane. But no, just going to go out there and try today and hit the fairways and hit the greens and make a few putts and we'll see what happens.
Q. Last question so you can get ready. When you're actually over the golf ball, does it stop? Is it a situation where between shots is the hardest part?
CHARLIE BELJAN: Yeah. Yesterday that was what was nice. Between the shots is the hardest part and then I would gather myself for 30 seconds and I actually felt almost normal, but then between the shots it was I mean yesterday I honestly feared for my life. I had the paramedics check me out before I even teed off and for I don't even know how long it took us. I don't even remember the round yesterday. I actually remembered at one time on 15 wondering if I was going to make the cut. And yeah, it was a wild day and it was a fearful day, and hopefully we'll put that behind us and have a great one today.
Q. Everybody wishes you the best. Play well. How are you feeling buddy?
CHARLIE BELJAN: Better than yesterday, but still not great. A little nervous heading into today just strictly for how I'm going to feel and what my body is going to do. Until 7:00 last night I didn't even know I had a three shot lead. I don't even remember yesterday's round. I just remember fighting, one step at a time, one shot at a time and counting down the holes until I was going to be done.
Q. I was out there. You probably don't remember talking to me, but you were scaring me out there.
CHARLIE BELJAN: Yeah. I was scared. I've never been that scared. And you know, all the doctors said that they thought everything was good. They thought maybe it was just an anxiety, turned into a panic attack, and then not having a chance to kind of sit down and take a breather. And then the paramedics show up out there and just everything kind of spiraled. And we'll see what we can do today, though. We look forward to it. And hopefully regardless of the score, just complete the 18 holes.
Q. I tell you what, there's no reason to panic. As good as you hit it yesterday, that drive you hit at No. 11, I mean are you kidding me? Go out there and have some fun, buddy.
CHARLIE BELJAN: No doubt. I look forward to having some fun today. And we'll see what happens. It's a dream come true.
The transcript for the above interview is courtesy of ASAP Sports.
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