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Golfer fights scary illness, takes lead

Charlie Beljan, feeling shortness of breath, heart palpitations and numbness, speaks with EMS personnel on the 17th hole.

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Charlie Beljan, feeling shortness of breath, heart palpitations and numbness, speaks with EMS personnel on the 17th hole.

LAKE BUENA VISTA — Charlie Beljan was worried about keeping his PGA Tour card when he showed up at the Walt Disney World Resort for the year's final tournament. That changed Friday over five frightening hours during which he felt a shortness of breath and his heart racing, and told his caddie he thought he was going to die.

He called for paramedics at the turn and was told his blood pressure was not good. He sat in the middle of the fairway to rest and kneeled on the green to try to steady himself.

The 28-year-old rookie fought through it for 8-under 64 to take a three-shot lead at 12-under 132 in the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals Classic over a group of seven that included Tampa resident Ryuji Imada (66) and first-round leader Charlie Wi (71).

Moments after signing his card, Beljan was loaded onto a stretcher and taken by ambulance to Celebration Hospital.

"I think he was scared," said his caddie, Rick Adcox. "He kept saying he thought he was going to die. … It was spooky."

A few hours later, his agent sent a text message to tour officials saying Beljan was waiting for test results, feeling better and hopeful of being discharged Friday evening. In a later text, agent Andy Dawson said even if Beljan remained in the hospital overnight, he planned to play the third round today.

Beljan was in the lead for the first time after any round. It could not have come at a better time. He is No. 139 on the money list; only the top 125 keep their full tour cards for next year.

"It was bizarre," said Edward Loar, who played with Beljan. "It sure didn't affect his golf. I heard him call for a paramedic on No. 9. Before the round, he said he was having a hard time breathing. Hopefully, the guy was all right."

lpga: Angela Stanford shot 5-under 67 for a two-stroke lead at 11-under 133 over Inbee Park (68) after the second round of the Lorena Ochoa Invitational at Guadalajara, Mexico. Ochoa, who retired in 2010, was 1 under after 72. Seminole's Brittany Lincicome (73) was at par. Tampa resident Kristy McPherson (74) was 1 over.

europe: Rain disrupted the Singapore Open for the second day, with half the field unable to start the second round. Chapchai Nirat and Simon Dyson shared a one-stroke lead at 6 under midway through the second round before play was halted. Rory McIlroy, trying to win the European and PGA Tour money titles in the same season, played 10 holes in the morning to finish Round 1 at 1-under 70, then went back out for the second. He was at par when his round was halted with six holes left. Phil Mickelson didn't play at all after opening with 73.

Golfer fights scary illness, takes lead 11/09/12 [Last modified: Friday, November 9, 2012 10:48pm]
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