Beljan basks in the spotlight of a 62

By Jason SobelJuly 6, 2012, 8:32 pm

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W. Va. – Whenever a PGA Tour player does something special in a given day – takes the tournament lead or maybe shoots the low score – his round is punctuated by signing the scorecard and thanking some volunteers before being whisked away to the interview room, where TV cameras and reporters are standing by to record his innermost thoughts.

For accomplished stars like Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, this is an exercise in monotony. Similar journeys to the interview room each week. Similar settings, similar questions, similar answers.

For other less successful players, the experience constitutes a brave new world. It becomes an opportunity to see how the other half lives, a chance to tell their story to an awaiting audience.

Charlie Beljan is one of these players.

Prior to posting an 8-under 62 in the second round of The Greenbrier Classic, the PGA Tour rookie had seen the interview room only on television, his more prosperous peers conveying their feelings through the microphone.

And so as Beljan emerged from large green curtain framing the backdrop of the room and saw more than a dozen journalists waiting to speak with him, he could only utter a single thought: “Ohh, wow.”

Once he got over the wonderment of the awaiting throng, it turns out Beljan is an affable sort – the type of guy who doesn’t take for granted the opportunity to tell his story, but probably still wouldn’t take it for granted if this was the 1,000th time he’d entered one of these rooms.

“Today was the best day of my career,” he started, large smile still intact. “It was wonderful from the first hole, making birdie, to the last hole. I made bogey, but it still didn’t matter. I shot 62, which was my career low round out here. To do it on the PGA Tour, each time I tee it up out here is a treat and then to do something like I did today is really something special.”

Beljan admits his heart will be racing as he enters the weekend in contention for not only his first title, but his first finish of better than 29th place, a result he accomplished two weeks ago at the Travelers Championship.

Then again, he’s a guy who likes to get his heart racing. On his first date with wife Merisa, she took him for a ride on her motorcycle and it wasn’t too long until Charlie was hooked.

“I’m kind of regretting it a little bit now,” she says with a laugh, “because he’s extra crazy.”

How crazy? He owns three bikes and even claims, “I would give up the game today if I could race motorcycles professionally.” It doesn’t stop there, either. In his official PGA Tour bio, Beljan states that he’d someday like to be strapped to the wing of a biplane. (Then again, he does balance it all out by also driving a Smart Car back home in Phoenix.)

His need for speed makes a little thing like trying to win a golf tournament seem bland by comparison. Although he does understand how his hobby can help his profession.

“That’s why I’m looking forward to the weekend,” he explains. “I like getting my heart beating. I like the adrenaline.”

He also likes being a PGA Tour member. Not that others don’t, but you get the sense that Beljan, who jumped straight from the Gateway Tour last year after qualifying through Q-School, remains extra jazzed by the newness of it all.

“Every week out here is a blast,” he says. “It truly is a treat. It’s something I’ve worked for my whole life. Now I’ve been out here and playing in front of the people. I love the people. The more people, the better, because obviously [that means] you’re doing something well.

“I mean, every day is wonderful to be out here.”

With an intriguing combination of power and finesse, chances are this won’t be Beljan’s last trip to a PGA Tour interview room. The only difference in the future is that it won’t be him exclaiming, “Ohh, wow.” He’ll leave that to everyone who’s watching him.

Day, Spieth chasing Davis after Day 1 of Aussie Open

By Jason CrookNovember 23, 2017, 6:50 am

The PGA Tour is off this week but a couple of the circuit’s biggest stars – Jordan Spieth and Jason Day – are headlining the Emirates Australian Open, the first event in The Open Qualifying Series for the 2018 Open at Carnoustie. Here's how things look after the opening round, where Cameron Davis has opened up a two-shot lead:

Leaderboard: Cameron Davis (-8), Taylor MacDonald (-6), Nick Cullen (-5), Jason Day (-5), Brian Campbell (-4), Lucas Herbert (-4), Stephen Leaney (-4), Anthony Quayle (-4)

What it means: Jordan Spieth has won this event three of the last four years, including last year, but he got off to a rocky start on Thursday. Playing in the windy afternoon wave, the world No. 2 bogeyed his first two holes but rebounded with birdies on Nos. 4 and 5. It was more of the same the rest of the way as the 24-year-old carded three more bogeys and four birdies, getting into the clubhouse with a 1-under 70. While it certainly wasn't the start he was hoping for, Spieth didn't shoot himself out of the tournament with 54 holes left to play, he has plenty of time to claw his way up the leaderboard.

Round of the day: With Round 1 in the books, the solo leader, Davis, is the easy pick here. The 22-year-old Aussie who turned pro last year, came out of the gates on fire, birdieing six of his first seven holes, including four in a row on Nos. 4 through 7. He did drop a shot on the ninth hole to go out in 30 but rebounded with three more birdies on the back to card a 8-under 63. Davis, who was born in Sydney and played this year on the Mackenzie Tour in Canada. He will attempt to get his Tour card next month during qualifying in Arizona.

Best of the rest: Making his first start in his home country in four years, Day started on the 10th hole at The Australian Golf Club and made four birdies to one bogey on the back side before adding four more circles after making the turn. Unfortunately for the 30-year-old, he also added an ugly double-bogey 6 on the par-4 eighth hole and had to settle for a 5-under 66, good enough to sit T-3. Day, who has dropped to No. 12 in the world rankings, is looking for his first win on any tour since the 2016 Players Championship.

Main storyline heading into Friday: Can the upstart 22-year-old Davis hold off the star power chasing him or will he fold to the pressure of major champions in his rearview mirror? Day (afternoon) and Spieth (morning) are once again on opposite ends of the draw on Friday as they try to improve their position before the weekend.

Shot of the day: It’s tough to beat an ace in this category, and we had one of those on Thursday from Australian Brad Shilton. Shilton’s hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole came with a special prize, a $16k watch.

Quote of the day: “Just two bad holes. Pretty much just two bad swings for the day,” – Day, after his 66 on Thursday. 

Watch: Shilton wins $16k timepiece with hole-in-one

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 2:50 am

Australian Brad Shilton made a hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole during the first round of the Australian Open, and he was rewarded handsomely for his efforts - with a Tag Heuer watch worth $16k.

Day gets in early mix with 66 in return to Australia

By Associated PressNovember 23, 2017, 2:32 am

SYDNEY - Jason Day's first tournament round in Australia in four years was a 5-under 66 to put him among the leaders early Thursday at the Australian Open.

Day's round came unhinged late with a double-bogey 6 on the par-4 eighth hole, his second-last of the day. He hit his tee shot into the trees on the left, hit back out to the fairway, missed his approach to the green and then couldn't get up and down.

''That was brutal,'' Day said of the 481-yard hole that played into gusting winds.

But Day recovered quickly to birdie his last to sit three strokes behind fellow Australian and early leader Cameron Davis, who started on the first, had six front-nine birdies and shot 63 at The Australian Golf Club.

In between the two was Australian Taylor MacDonald, who shot 65.

''It was a pretty solid round, I didn't miss many fairways, I didn't miss many greens,'' Day said. ''I'd give myself a seven or eight out of 10.''

Defending champion Jordan Spieth, attempting to win the Australian Open for the third time in four years, was off to a poor start among the afternoon players, bogeying his first two holes.

The Sydney-born Davis played most of this season on the Mackenzie Tour in Canada and will attempt to secure his card in the final round of qualifying from Dec. 7-10 in Chandler, Arizona.

''Everything went to plan,'' Davis said. ''I got off to a great start. I was hitting my spots and was able to keep it together on the back nine.''

NOTES: Australian Brad Shilton had the first ace of the tournament, using a 5-iron for a hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole, his second hole of the day. Australian veteran Geoff Ogilvy, the 2006 U.S. Open winner, shot 69. He and Rod Pampling (68) played the first round with Day.

Day: Woods feeling good, hitting it long

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 22, 2017, 9:33 pm

Jason Day says Tiger Woods told him he feels better than he has in three years, which is good news for Woods a week ahead of his return to the PGA Tour at the Hero World Challenge.

Day, a fellow Nike endorser, was asked about Woods during his news conference at the Emirates Australian Open on Wednesday. "I did talk to him," Day said, per a report in the Sydney Morning Herald,"and he did say it's the best he's ever felt in three years'" Day said.

"He doesn't wake up with pain anymore, which is great. I said to him, 'Look, it's great to be one of the best players ever to live, but health is one thing that we all take for granted and if you can't live a happy, healthy life, then that's difficult.'"

The Hero World Challenge will be played Nov. 30-Dec. 3 in the Bahamas and broadcast on Golf Channel and NBC.

Day, who has had his own health issues, said he could empathize with Woods.

"I totally understand where he's coming from, because sometimes I wake up in the morning and it takes me 10 minutes to get out of bed, and for him to be in pain for three years is very frustrating."

Woods has not played since February after undergoing surgery following a recurrence of back problems.

"From what I see on Instagram and what he's been telling me, he says he's ready and I'm hoping that he is, because from what I hear, he's hitting it very long," Day said.

"And if he's hitting it long and straight, then that's going to be tough for us because it is Tiger Woods. He's always been a clutch putter and in amongst the best and it will be interesting to see.

"There's no pressure. I think it's a 17- or 18-man field, there's no cut, he's playing at a tournament where last year I think he had the most birdies at."