By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. -- A year from now, Charlie Beljan plans to set up camp in his RV on a cliff overlooking the Pacific Coast Highway where he can see the sun emerge from the horizon each morning.
"Life is good up there," Beljan said.
As much as he looks forward to playing Riviera and the Northern Trust Open again, though, Beljan probably would be just as happy to skip the 10th hole where he lost to John Merrick in a playoff on Sunday.
Beljan bogeyed the driveable par 4 twice on Sunday, once in regulation and again when all the marbles were in the line. He pulled out a driver each time with the playoff attempt landing well left in the kikuya rough. His second shot found the collar, 71 feet away, and he putted to 5 before missing the chance to extend the festivities and win for the second time in six starts on TOUR.
"I think you could play here 10,000 times and still not know how to play No. 10," Beljan said. "18 (which he and Merrick parred in the playoff) is a great golf hole. You know, I just find it tough that we go to No. 10. To play a playoff hole, I think it's a great hole, don't get me wrong, I'm not knocking it, but it's just a tough hole to have a playoff on.
"We might as well go and put a windmill out there and hit some putts."
That said, Beljan understands that the 312-yard par 4 is a part of Riviera's lore. He just wishes the kidney-shaped green were more receptive and he knew whether to lay up or have a go at it.
"I'm glad that hole is not at TPC Scottsdale around the stadium where you see people making a big-time fool of themselves," said Beljan, who made three bogeys and two bogeys there for the week.
"I've played it two different ways and I don't think either way is right. So I don't really know what the strategy is there, other than hoping you make par and that you move on."
Beljan actually had to birdie the 18th hole just to make the playoff with Merrick. He closed with a 67 thanks to that 18-footer on the 72nd hole that elicited a huge celebration from the gallery, then headed to the putting green to see what would transpire.
"Coming down the back nine, I didn't strike the ball that well, but God, I made every clutch putt that you would ever ask to make," Beljan said. "And then to make that putt on 18 and hear the roar, was really special. Obviously not the way I wanted to end it, but you know what, you win some, you lose some, and that's how it goes."
Beljan appeared much more relaxed than the man who fought through heart palpitations that landed him in the emergency room as he won the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals Classic. He's learned he needs to eat before his round and even though Beljan's "pretty jazzed and pretty jacked" in the hour or so before he tees off, once he hits that opening drive he can relax again.
"I make things such a big deal in my head for that hour leading up to it, and then as soon as we get out there, I feel I'm in my element," Beljan said. Of course, this is the same man who asked Ernie Els and Phil Mickelson to sign his visor after they played together on Saturday because "those are two guys that I've looked up to my whole life," Beljan said.
Come Monday, Beljan and his family will pile into their RV and start the 2,260-mile drive to south Florida where he will play in The Honda Classic in two weeks. On the way, he'll play the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass to prepare for his first PLAYERS Championship and he's got pit passes for his first Daytona 500, as well.
Life really is good, isn't it?
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. -- John Merrick grew up in Long Beach about 45 minutes away from Riviera Country Club. As the crow flies, not as the car drives in this soCal megalopolis, of course.
He attended UCLA, just across the 405 freeway, and went to the Northern Trust Open as a kid where he dreamed of playing the PGA TOUR. He got to the big leagues seven years ago but there was one thing missing on his resume.
And on Sunday, as fate would have it, Merrick took care of that omission as he won his first PGA TOUR event in a playoff with Charlie Beljan with a par on the second extra hole.
"To get a win in my hometown, it's amazing," Merrick said. "It is a dream come true. ... It has not sunk in yet for sure."
The win came in Merrick's 169th start on the PGA TOUR and moved him to fourth in the FedExCup. Merrick has never missed the Playoffs with his best finish 40th in 2008.
Merrick, who started the final round three strokes behind Bill Haas, held at least a share of the lead throughout most of the pressure-packed back nine. But Beljan was the first to post 11 under when he rolled in an 18-footer for birdie and a 67 at the 72nd hole.
Merrick was playing in the penultimate group with Fredrik Jacobson, and both came to Rivieria's 18th at 11 under as Beljan was signing his scorecard. Jacobson missed a 4-footer for par there but Merrick made his from 3 to get into what was the second straight playoff at the Northern Trust Open.
Neither Beljan nor Merrick found the green the second time the two played the 18th hole on Sunday. Merrick chipped to tap-in distance while Beljan had to convert from 6 feet to extend the playoff.
The 10th hole is a driveable par 4 but Merrick chose to lay up with a 3-iron for the second time on Sunday. He had 90 yards and chipped to 18 feet while Beljan's drive strayed well left in the rough.
Beljan's second shot found the collar of the green and he putted from 71 feet to 5. Merrick's birdie attempt came up 21 inches shy and he took no chances, tapping in for par. When Beljan's putt passed the cup, Merrick was a PGA TOUR champion and he wrapped his caddy in a bear hug.
For Beljan, who played through a panic attack to win his first PGA TOUR event in last year's season-ender, Sunday's runner-up finish snapped a string of four missed cuts. He had never played at Riviera before but said he already had a spot for his RV booked for 2014.
"Life's good. Life is good," Beljan said. "... coming down the back nine, I didn't strike the ball that well, but God, I made every clutch putt that you would ever ask to make.
"And then to make that putt on 18 and hear the roar, was really special. Obviously not the way I wanted to end it, but you know what, you win some, you lose some, and that's how it goes."
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. -- When Charlie Beljan got the text message on Friday night his heart started pounding.
Not to worry, though. The man who famously played through an anxiety attack to win the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals Classic last November wasn't headed for another visit to the emergency room.
Beljan was just excited to find out he'd be playing with a pair of World Golf Hall of Famers -- Phil Mickelson and Ernie Els -- in the third round of the Northern Trust Open. And not only did he play with the two for the first time on Saturday, he shot the lowest score.
Not bad for a guy who was making his living on the Gateway Tour just 24 months ago.
"(I was) lucky enough last year to get on the PGA TOUR and to get a victory and to tee it up with Mr. Els and Mr. Mickelson and to have a day like I did is something that I'll never forget," Beljan said after signing for his 68. "(I) had them both sign my visor and I'll put it in a nice frame at home so I'll always have something to remember."
Beljan acknowleged Els, who shot 73, and Mickelson, who had a 72, likely aren't asked to sign a playing partner's visor too often -- unless, of course, it's after a pro-am round.
"But hey, I'll ask -- what's the worst they are going to tell me, is no?" Beljan said. "But no, it was very kind for them both to do that, and (I) appreciated it."
Beljan's round of 68 left him in a tie for seventh with Josh Teater at 7 under, trailing Bill Haas by five strokes. He got untracked on the back nine with three straight birdies to start before making a final one from 6 feet at the par-5 17th.
"I wish I could have had a few more putts drop but I've got a great chance tomorrow and look forward to it," Beljan said. "I could have birdied every hole on the back nine realistically without stretching it for making more than a 15- or 20-footer. These greens are tough, especially poa annua in the afternoon, that's how it goes.
"If you told me I was going to shoot 3 under par or if I was going to shoot even par, I would have been thrilled to death. I'm ecstatic, I'm happy, life's good."
Beljan, who is playing in the Northern Trust Open for the first time, has soaked up the atmosphere at Riviera. He loves looking at the old photos around the clubhouse and he says he's already booked a spot for his RV for next year.
"I can't wait to come back," Beljan said. "I'm fortunate to be here and fortunate to have an opportunity like I did today, and to go ahead and beat those boys is something, it's just one day of golf. It was one great day."
To preview the 2013 PGA TOUR season, PGATOUR.COM is counting down the Top 100 Players to Watch in 2013. For an archive page with the top 100 players and for an explanation on how the list was compiled, click here .
2013 PREVIEW: Thanks to his win at the PGA TOUR's season-ending event, Charlie Beljan won't be headed to the final stage of q-school for the second straight year. He now has the luxury of a two-year exemption on TOUR as he looks to gain some consistency and improve his comfort zone.
2012 DEFINING MOMENT: For Beljan, this category should probably read dramatic instead of defining. During the second round of the season-ending Children's Miracle Network Hospitals Classic, he began experiencing heart palpitations and an acute shortness of breath that became so severe he had to lie down between shots. He said later he thought he was going to die. Beljan gutted out a 64, though, spent the night in the hospital and came back to win the tournament. –- Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
ALBERS’ QUICK TAKE: I don't know if I'm impressed or concerned about Charlie's anxiety attacks. For a player to feel like he's "going to die," and still finish the round and then win the tournament is remarkable. On the flip side, it's tough to have a long PGA TOUR career if you have to battle anxiety attacks. I hope Charlie's two-year exemption will ease any stress. He has big-time game. -- Fred Albers, SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio
BOLTON’S FANTASY OUTLOOK: In hindsight, his inspiring win at Disney to close out 2012 made a lot of sense. The rookie ranked second on TOUR in distance off the tee, 33rd in par breakers and inside the top 25 in birdies or better on both par 4s and par 5s. His putting needs some work, but he was still able to cherry-pick two top 10s before the breakthrough.-- Rob Bolton, PGATOUR.COM Fantasy expert
SOCIAL MEDIA: Find him on Twitter
2012 QUICK REVIEW
Regular Season ranking
Final Playoffs ranking
|Best finish||1st||Children's Miracle Network Hospitals Classic|
|By the Numbers
Cuts made: 9
Rounds played: 57
Top-10 finishes: 3
Money List rank: 63
Driving distance: 2nd
Driving accuracy: 139th
Greens in regulation: 56th
Strokes gained-putting: 176th
Scoring average: 144th
NOW IT’S YOUR TURN
What is your prediction for Charlie Beljan in 2013? Fill out the form below and let us know
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – The nominees for 2012 PGA TOUR Rookie of the Year were released on Monday -- Charlie Beljan, Jonas Blixt, Bud Cauley, John Huh and Ted Potter Jr.
Players were nominated by the PGA TOUR Player Directors and members of the Player Advisory Council (PAC). The awards are determined by a member vote, with PGA TOUR members who played in at least 15 official money events in 2012 eligible to vote. The balloting process ends on Nov. 30, with the winner to be announced in early December.
A quick look at each Rookie of the Year nominee:
CHARLIE BELJAN: Won one event (Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic), posted three-top-10 finishes, finished 63rd on official money list and 160th in FedExCup points
JONAS BLIXT: Won one event (Frys.com Open), posted five top-10 finishes, finished 34th on the official money list and 71st in FedExCup points
BUD CAULEY: Posted six-top 10 finishes, finished 44th on official money list and 38th in FedExCup points
JOHN HUH: Won one event (Mayakoba Golf Classic), posted four top-10 finishes, finished 28th on official money list and 29th in FedExCup points
TED POTTER JR.: Won one event (The Greenbrier Classic) for his only top-10 finish, finished 62nd on official money list and 93rd in FedExCup points
Now it’s your turn: Who do you think will win this year’s Rookie of the Year?
ON THE MARK ARCHIVE: Tips from Mark Immelman
By Mark Immelman, Special to PGATOUR.COM
As you enter Walt Disney World, there is a sign that says: "Where dreams come true." For PGA TOUR rookie Charlie Beljan, dreams certainly came true this week at The Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic.
Just a few weeks ago, Beljan was considering a trip to the second stage of qschool, but a top-10 finish at The McGladrey Classic moved him into to 139th on the money list and an assured spot in the q-school finals. That reduced pressure helped Beljan fire an opening 68 and into position for a spot in the top 125.
A strange sequence of events on Friday, however, moved the affable 28-year-old from thinking about the tournament -- and his quest for his playing privileges -- to thinking he was going to die on the course.
On the driving range before the round, Beljan called for a
doctor, complaining of shortness of breath, an elevated heartrate
and numbness in his arms. He also complained that he was feeling
faint. Despite his obvious distress, he decided to go and play and
he managed to put together what was one of the most remarkable
rounds of the year. He made two eagles, six birdies and two bogeys
for 64 -- a score which propelled him into the 36-hole lead.
Not only did the round include a splash of red numbers, it also included a visit with the paramedics on the tenth tee. There, the medical staff advised him that it was his decision to continue. Continue he did, with the mantra being a countdown – “One more hole; one more shot.”
Charlie Beljan’s Friday episode reminded me of the adage: “Beware of the sick golfer,” and it certainly bears a lesson for us all.
Oftentimes when you are feeling under the weather, your mind becomes more engaged with your health misgivings than with the challenges or perils that the golf course presents. As a result you begin to adopt an approach that is less results-driven – just like Charlie Beljan. “Handlebar” Rick Adcox, Beljan’s caddie, admitted that they never even considered the score for the day or the tournament. In fact, they only found out that Beljan was in the lead after the round was complete and he was taken to the hospital for tests and observation.
Now, obviously you can’t only compete when you are ill, but you certainly can find tools to occupy your mind between shots if you struggle with your mind wandering. For example, I have seen a player-caddie relationship where the caddie brings the daily newspaper crossword puzzle to the course and he and the player start doing it on the range and aim to complete it by the end of the round. They consider the clues and try and figure out the answers between shots. Upon their arrival at the each shot they consider the necessary variables, select a club and hit the shot. As soon as the club is back in the bag, they get back to their crossword puzzle.
There are many novel ways to achieve a mindset that is completely engaged in the present-tense and devoid of golf-related strain. Whatever your tool of choice may be, I recommend you use it every time you compete as it will help you to diminish the inevitable golfer’s tendency to make more of the shot and even the round of golf that it really is. Behold, Charlie Beljan and his Friday nightmare ... who would have bet that a little mind-numbing and a lot of guts and perseverance would have been the catalyst to him being the newest PGA TOUR champion?
"You swing your best when you have the fewest things to think about." Bobby Jones
Mark Immelman, the brother of PGA TOUR professional Trevor Immelman, is a well-respected golf instructor and head coach of the Columbus State University (Ga.) golf team. For more information about Mark and his instruction, visit his web site, markimmelman.com or follow him on Twitter @mark_immelman or “Like” Mark Immelman Golf Instruction on Facebook. He also has a golf instruction e-book called “Consistently Straight Shots – The Simple Solution” available on iTunes/iBooks.
PHOTOS OF THE WEEK: The best shots from the 2012 PGA TOUR finale
What is Charlie Beljan -- and his flying putter -- doing in the final round of the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals Classic? Leave your answer below -- and please, keep it clean!
In the final round of the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals Classic from Walt Disney World Resort, Charlie Beljan shot a 3-under 69 to win his first PGA TOUR event.
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- For all the back and forth, permutations, and scoreboard watching, only two players moved from outside the top 125 on the money list to inside it, and one of them was the winner of the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic.
Charlie Beljan, who entered the week 139th in money, locked up a PGA TOUR card for the next two years after his two-shot victory. Tim Herron’s journey to full status was a little more harrowing.
Herron, who came here 136th in money, was cruising along with five birdies through his first 14 holes Sunday. Then he double bogeyed the 17th hole after hitting his tee shot into the water and left his putt from just off the green a few inches short of the hole.
“I needed to suck it up and hit it down the left and try to hit a cut and I came over and hooked it in the water,” Herron said. “I thought if I got in at 12 under, I was in.”
But Herron finished at 11 under and thought he was out, kicking and walking on his bag in frustration. “Usually when I walk on something, it breaks,” he said.
Then he was informed he was safe.
“Billy Andrade told me, ‘Don't worry about it; you’re in; don't break any more stuff’,” Herron said. “But I didn't believe him.”
Herron finished 124th, about $13,000 ahead of Kevin Chappell.
Chappell, who tied for 34th, teetered back and forth most of the day before finishing just over $1,800 ahead of Jerry Kelly, who finished outside the top 125 for the first time in more than a decade.
Chappell, though, wasn't safe until Charlie Wi and Josh Teater each made par on the last hole. If either made bogey, Kelly would have moved up on the leaderboard and passed Chappell on the money list.
Kelly, meanwhile, can use a career money exemption.
Only two players fell out of the top 125. Rod Pampling and Billy Mayfair, who began the week 124th and 125th, respectively, both missed the cut and had to watch their fate from home.
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Two days after being hospitalized for a panic attack, Charlie Beljan was cool and collected in a round of 69 to win by two at the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic for his first career victory.
With the win, Beljan earns a two-year exemption on the PGA TOUR. He also moved from 139th on the money list to 63rd.
Despite a bogey on the first hole, Beljan never trailed Sunday. He led by as many as five before seeing that deficit cut to two after a double bogey on the 13th hole. Beljan made a birdie on the next hole, though, and never looked back, two-putting on the 18th for the win.
Beljan is the fourth rookie to win on TOUR this season, joining John Huh, Ted Potter Jr. and Jonas Blixt.
Matt Every and Robert Garrigus tied for second after both shot 68.
Brian Gay, meanwhile, finished fourth, while four others ties for fifth.
In the race to finish in the top 125 on the money list, only Beljan and Tim Herron, who shot a final-round 69 to tie for ninth, moved inside the magic number. Rod Pampling and Billy Mayfair, both of whom missed the cut, were the only players to fall out of the top 125.