Tour Report: Beljan plays on despite doctor’s advice

PGATOUR.com
Interview: Charlie Beljan

Prior to the third round of the 2012 Children's Miracle Network Hospitals Classic, Dennis Paulson from SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio speaks with 36-hole leader Charlie Beljan about his health and mindset.

By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Despite a recommendation by doctors that Charlie Beljan not continue to play, he will go on in the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic, where he leads by three going into Saturday’s third round.

Beljan spent the night at nearby Celebration Hospital after suffering from shortness of breath, an increased heart rate and high blood pressure. After several tests, however, doctors couldn’t find anything physically wrong with the 28-year-old, who was released Saturday morning.

“That was probably the hardest day of my life,” said Beljan, who got only an hour of sleep and actually slept with his golf shoes on. “The end result was that they think that everything was OK. That’s why I’m here today.

”I’m still not feeling that great, but shoot, the position I’m in, it’s kind of hard not to show up. We’ll give it a whirl, give it our best shot.”

Beljan, who believes he may have suffered an anxiety attack, shot a 64 on Friday despite gasping for air and having to lay down on the course several times during his round. Once he signed his scorecard, he was rushed by ambulance to the hospital.

By Saturday morning, Beljan was ready to play golf after getting to the course about an hour before his 10:55 a.m. ET tee time.

“Blood work, the CAT scan, the lungs, the heart, everything was wonderful, which is a huge relief,” Beljan said. “Still, I’m going to have to go back out there and kind of face the feelings today.

”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.”

Beljan said on Friday that he has suffered similar episodes in recent weeks, but nothing this extreme. And last month, he passed out on a flight home from Reno, Nev., and had to be taken to the hospital once the plane landed. Again, doctors weren’t able to come up with a diagnosis.

The rookie came into this week with the added stress of playing for his PGA TOUR card — he is 139th on the money list; only the top 125 after this week receive cards.

Beljan, who was barely coherent after finishing his second round, didn’t even realize he was in the lead until he reached the hospital.

“I haven’t even thought about the three-shot lead or the golf really,” he said. “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.

“I look forward to having some fun today. And we’ll see what happens. It’s a dream come true.”


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