Charlie Beljan captured his first career U.S. PGA Tour golf title after overcoming a second-round panic attack that sent him to the hospital at the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic.
Beljan shot a 3-under par 69 during yesterday’s final round at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, and had a four-round total of 16-under 272. He finished two shots ahead of Matt Every and Robert Garrigus, earning $846,000 and an automatic spot on the PGA Tour for the next two years.
Beljan, 28, had been taken to the hospital in an ambulance after his second-round 64 three days ago, having hyperventilated on the golf course after experiencing tightness in his chest and an elevated heartbeat. Beljan said he feared for his life and wasn’t sure if he’d be able to return to the tournament after spending the night in the hospital and undergoing tests that included blood work, X-rays and scans of his heart and lungs.
“Friday was frightening,” Beljan said at a news conference. “But I know that physically I’m OK. I’m going to go and try to figure out a few things out when I get home. Now I’ve got some time off and no stress.”
Beljan also passed out on a flight while returning home from a PGA Tour event in Reno, Nevada, this year and said doctors told him his episode this week was an anxiety or panic attack that “spun out of control.” He said he’s had six or seven episodes since passing out on the airplane, an incident that prompted an emergency landing.
Beljan, a rookie on the PGA Tour this season, said the latest attack may have been prompted by factors including the stress of being in contention at the culmination of a year that saw him have hand surgery, get married and have his first child.
“Physically everything is wonderful,” Beljan said before the final round. “It’s that little space between those ears that I got to work on.”