Beljan earns first PGA title
Charlie Beljan had no reason to panic Sunday. His wild week at Disney ended with a comfortable lead and his first PGA Tour victory.
What a turnaround in just two days.
Beljan struggled to breathe and his blood pressure spiked during the second round, which ended with him being wheeled out of the scoring room on a stretcher. He spent the night at the hospital. It turned out to be a panic attack that was out of control.
For 36 holes, he feared the panic attack might return. By the end of play Sunday, the 28-year-old rookie had completed a dream week.
Beljan ran off four straight birdies around the turn and built a five-shot lead on the back nine. He closed with a bogey for a 3-under 69 and a two-shot win at the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
His win gives him a two-year exemption, a trip to Maui for the Tournament of Championship and a spot in the PGA Championship next year.
“What a joy,” he said. “This is the greatest feeling ever.”
Beljan, who finished on 16-under 272, became the fourth rookie to win on tour this year.
Robert Garrigus got within two shots of him with about an hour to go until he stopped making birdies and had to settle for a 68. He finished two shots behind, along with Matt Every, who closed with a 68.
Tim Herron was the other big winner Sunday, closing with a 69 to tie for ninth. That gave him enough money to move from No. 138 to No. 124 on the money list, giving him his full card for the 2013 season.
Kevin Chappell finished at No. 125. He wound up $1,809 ahead of Jerry Kelly, who is out of the top 125 for the first time in his career.
Cristie Kerr won the Lorena Ochoa Invitational in Guadalajara, Mexico, for her first LPGA Tour victory in more than two years, and Stacy Lewis tied for fourth to wrap up the player of the year award.
Kerr parred the final three holes at Guadalajara Country Club to hold off Angela Stanford and third-round leader Inbee Park by a stroke. Kerr finished at 16-under 272 for her 15th LPGA Tour title.
Stanford shot 68, and Park had a 72.
The second-ranked Lewis, coming off her tour-leading fourth victory of the year last week in Japan, is the first American player of the year since Beth Daniel in 1994.
Lewis closed with a 68 to match Candie Kung at 4 under. Kung also shot 68.
Matteo Manassero holed a 12-foot putt for eagle to beat Louis Oosthuizen on the third playoff hole and win the Singapore Open.
The Italian, 19, became the first teenager to win three titles on the European Tour.
Oosthuizen and Manassero both finished at 13-under 271 in regulation. The South African had seven birdies and three bogeys to card a 67 in the final round, while Manassero, the third-round leader, had three birdies in a round of 69.
Rory McIlroy finished in third place at 10 under, guaranteeing he will win the European Tour money title. He becomes the second golfer after Luke Donald last year to win both the PGA Tour and European money titles in the same season.
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