In a land where fairy tales come to life, in a tournament with 'Miracle' in its name, Charlie Beljan wrote his own fairy tale by winning the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals Classic at the Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
Beljan, who was taken off the property on a stretcher after Friday's round and spent that night in the hospital undergoing tests to determine the cause of labored breathing and a rapid heart rate, earned his first PGA Tour win, shooting a 69 to finish at 272, 16 under par, and win by two shots.
'I showed up here yesterday just hoping to be able to finish 18 holes, and now here I am,' Beljan said shortly after holing his final putt.
Beljan was greeted on the final green by his wife, Merisa, and 7-week-old son, Graham.
The 28-year-old PGA Tour rookie from Mesa, Ariz., began the final round with a two-shot lead, but stretched it to five after a front-nine 33 that included five birdies and two bogeys, and two birdies in his first three holes on the back nine. He briefly faltered with a double bogey at the par-4 13th, but immediately recovered with a birdie on the par-5 14th. A bogey at the 18th was meaningless.
Although tests were inconclusive, Beljan believes his distress on Friday was the result of a panic attack, something he had suffered previously. 'I thought I literally had a chance to die,' he said.
Released from the hospital Friday night, Beljan began the third round having had only about an hour's sleep. He played deliberately slowly on Saturday to conserve his energy, and despite the return of some of his symptoms, managed to shoot a 1-under 71 that left him with a two-shot lead going into the final round.
This was the final official event of the 2012 PGA Tour season, and possibly the final event at Walt Disney World.