Golf: Charlie Beljan wins first PGA Tour title
Lake Buena Vista, Fla. • From the ambulance to the winner's circle Charlie Beljan is the new champion of the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals Classic.
Beljan, released from the hospital some 32 hours earlier after a panic attack left him with shortness of breath, kept it all together over the final 18 holes with a 3-under-par 69 for a two-shot win over Matt Every and Robert Garrigus.
Beljan briefly felt the heat on the back nine of Disney's Magnolia course when a double bogey cut his lead to two. A birdie at the par-5 14th hole restored some cushion, though, and three pars made a closing bogey inconsequential.
When his 3-foot bogey putt dropped, Beljan cast his putter to the side and threw his arms into the air as wife Merisa who flew in Saturday night from Phoenix walked out with their 7-week-old son to greet him.
"What a joy," said Beljan, who finished the week at 16-under 272. "This is the greatest feeling ever."
Garrigus was two shots back when his birdie at No. 14 followed Beljan's double bogey, but could get no closer. The 2010 Disney champion wound up recording his fifth runner-up finish of this season.
"I needed to put a little bit more pressure on him," Garrigus said after completing his 68. "If I birdie one or two of those [closing holes], it might have been a different story."
Every also posted a 68, allowing the Daytona Beach native to match the best finish of his career. Windermere's Brian Gay (70) was another stroke back at 13-under.
Beljan wasn't sure if he'd even get to tee it up on the weekend. Even while scorching Disney's Palm course with a 64 on Friday, he was struggling to breathe and played the back nine with paramedics on hand just outside the ropes.
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.
Children's Miracle Network Hospitals Classic
Charlie Beljan -16
Matt Every -14
Robert Garrigus -14
Daniel Summerhays -9