Beljan wins in Florida two days after hospital stay

Sun Nov 11, 2012 6:13pm EST
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(Reuters) - PGA Tour rookie Charlie Beljan claimed the Children's Miracle Network Classic in impressive fashion on Sunday, winning by two strokes in Florida to secure a PGA Tour card for the next two years just two days after a hospital stay.

Beljan fired a three-under-par 69 to finish at 16-under-par for the season-ending tournament, besting fellow Americans Robert Garrigus (68) and Matt Every (68) who tied for second at 14-under while Brian Gay (70) was a shot further back in fourth.

Suffering heart palpitations and shortness of breath during the second round, the 28-year-old spent Friday night in hospital but still managed to enter the final round with a two-stroke lead.

"This is the greatest feeling ever. I'm speechless. It's wonderful," Beljan told reporters after his first PGA Tour win.

"My family flew in last night and I have everybody back home rooting for me. I didn't even think I was going to get to finish my round on Friday.

"Yesterday I showed up just trying to be able to finish 18 holes and now here I am the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals Classic champion… what a joy."

Starting the week at 139th on the money list and facing the prospect of losing his tour card for 2013, Beljan traded two bogeys with two birdies over the first five holes, leading many to believe his symptoms would eventually get the better of him.

But in a stunning turn of events he rammed home five birdies in a six-hole run between the seventh and 12th holes to put a gap on the field and lead by as many as five.

"I did not feel well this morning," Beljan revealed. "Not the same symptoms but my stomach was hurting, my head was pounding and I thought 'Here we go again.'   Continued...