Charlie Beljan takes lead, falls ill at CMN tournament

Charlie Beljan bends over due to an illness on the 18th hole during the second round of the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals golf tournament in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., Friday, Nov. 9, 2012. (AP Photo/Julie Fletcher)
Charlie Beljan bends over due to an illness on the 18th hole during the second round of the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals golf tournament in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., Friday, Nov. 9, 2012. (AP Photo/Julie Fletcher)

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Charlie Beljan had trouble breathing even before he teed off, called for paramedics when he made the turn and even told his caddie at one point Friday that he thought he might die. With his job on the line at Disney, he kept right on playing until he had a remarkable 8-under 64 to build a three-shot lead going into the weekend.

The next question is if Beljan can even play on the weekend.

Moments after signing his card, Beljan was loaded onto a stretcher and wheeled to an ambulance that took him to a hospital.

“I think he was scared,” said his caddie, Rick Adcox. “He kept saying he thought he was going to die. He just had that feeling. I don’t know why. But it was spooky.”

Adcox said paramedics told the 28-year-old Beljan on the 10th tee of the Palm Course that his blood pressure “wasn’t good.” It wasn’t immediately known what was ailing Beljan, who leaned back on the stretcher with his eyes closed as he was taken to the ambulance. The tour said he complained of an elevated heart rate, shortness of breath and heart palpitations.

Adcox said Beljan told him there was numbness in his arms and he felt as if he was going to faint.

The struggle was painfully clear the way Beljan stooped over with his hands on his knees, sat down in the middle of the fairway to rest. He backed off shots and tried to take deep breaths. That he wound up in the lead at the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic was simply amazing.

“It was bizarre,” said Edward Loar, who played with Beljan. “I don’t know if he thought he was going to make it. 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. He was having a hard time breathing in there.”

Beljan, in his rookie season on the PGA Tour, is No. 139 on the money list. Disney is the final event of the year, and only the top 125 are assured of keeping their full cards for next year. Beljan likely would need to finish around 10th place to keep his card.

He was at 12-under 132, three shots clear of seven players, a group that included Henrik Stenson, 18-hole leader Charlie Wi, Harris English and Charles Howell III.

LPGA

Stanford opens 2-stroke lead in Mexico: In Guadalajara, Mexico, Angela Stanford shot a 5-under 67 to take a two-stroke lead over Inbee Park after the second round of the Lorena Ochoa Invitational.

The winner of the inaugural tournament in 2009, Stanford had an 11-under 133 total at Guadalajara Country Club.

Park, from South Korea, had a 68.

Cristie Kerr was third at 8 under after a 69.

PGA Europe/Asia

Chapchai, Dyson lead at rain-soaked Singapore Open: In Singapore, Thailand’s Chapchai Nirat and England’s Simon Dyson shared a one-stroke lead midway through the second round of the Singapore Open on Friday when play was suspended because of thunderstorms.

Nirat played the final 13 holes of the first round Friday morning after play was suspended Thursday afternoon because of rain and the threat of lightning.

Both were at 6 under when play was stopped early for the second consecutive day and with half the field yet to begin its round. Chapchai had nine holes left to play and Dyson had five.

Rory McIlroy shot a 1-under 70 in the first round, then had a bogey and double bogey to start the second before getting back to par with three birdies. He had six holes remaining.