By Fred Albers, PGA TOUR.COM Correspondent
Not only was Charlie Beljan nervous at the start of the final round, so was his caddie. Veteran looper Rick Adcox picked up a can of soda and noticed his hands were shaking. Beljan and Adcox worked extremely well together during the tournament, discussing wind, yardage and hole location until everyone was in agreement on strategy. It was also obvious Beljan was nervous. Several times he would take a deep breath and exhale. He also backed off or took a stutter-step while walking into a shot. The fact Beljan could overcome all those nerves and health issues are remarkable. His final round ranks as one of the better this year.
Distance: Beljan led the tournament in driving distance this week at 307 yards and is second on the PGA TOUR for the year with a 311.9-yard average. If you are wondering where he gets that prodigious length from, some of it comes from his physical tools and setup. Beljan stands 6 feet, 4 inches with long arms and sets up to the ball with his hands low, all of which leads to a very wide arc and tremendous speed. Beljan’s clubhead speed is 122.7 mph and ball speed is 180.7 mph, both of which are third fastest on TOUR.
Experience: I talked with Tim Herron after his opening round in Las Vegas and he calmly told me he had one advantage in the closing events -- experience. Herron said he had the advantage of knowing when to press and when to back off during a round of golf because of his veteran knowledge. It sounded like a very confident comment coming from a player that was outside the top 125. So how did Herron perform in the final four events of the season? He posted finishes of T10, T35, T49, T9. Herron finished 124th on the money list.
Good stretch: Beljan won the tournament with some great golf on the seventh through 12th holes. He birdied five of the six and even when he made double bogey at the 13th, Beljan bounced back with a birdie at the 14th. His three at the ninth was special; there were only seven birdies at the 425-yard par 4 the entire day.
Wind: Blustery conditions put a premium on course management. Players had to keep their misses on the correct side of the green. At No. 17, Russell Knox hit what appeared to be a perfect bunker shot, only to have the wind push it to the edge of the green leading to bogey. Knox raised his arms in disbelief. The problem wasn’t the bunker shot, it was missing the green on the wrong side, forcing the next shot to be played downwind. A bogey-bogey finish was costly but it was still a solid week for Knox, as he moved to No. 143 on the money list.
Attitude: It’s hard to find a player with a better attitude than Jeff Maggert. He’ll turn 49 in February and readily admits looking for a “bridge” to the the Champions Tour. Some players with his list of accomplishments would be too embarrassed or stubborn to attend qualifying school, but not Maggert. He said he would go back through the qualifying process if necessary, though now won’t be needed. Maggert finished T50 this week and 123rd on the money list.
Good karma: Jerry Kelly sent a bottle of wine to a group of announcers while dining the week of Wyndham. That magnanimous gesture earned him all kinds of good karma. Kelly shot a final-round 66 to finish T9 and move up 30 spots to No. 126 on the money list. Speaking on behalf of broadcasters everywhere, we will gladly do our part and accept all dinners and drinks sent our way during 2013, purely with the intent of helping players and their karma.
Fred Albers is a course reporter for SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio. For more information on SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio, click here .
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.
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- On one hand, Russell Knox wasn’t thinking about finishing in the top 125 on the money list after entering the final round of the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic in a tie for 32nd.
On the other, he played his first 14 holes in 7 under to at one point tie for the lead. Even a second-place finish would have helped him after beginning the week 156th on the money list.
Instead, Knox bogeyed his final two holes to fall down a few spots down the leaderboard -- and in the end out of the top 125 on the money list.
The first bogey was the hardest for Knox to swallow. He hit what he thought was a good bunker shot on the 17th hole only to have it land 17 feet away. He missed the par putt, then made another bogey on the 18th when he missed a 4-footer.
“I played as well as I think I ever have,” Knox said. “I feel like I got extremely robbed on 17.
“It looked like the ball had stopped like four feet. A little gust of wind and it goes off the green almost.”
That said, Knox still finished inside the top 150, which guarantees him at least full status on the Web.com Tour.
“I’m over the moon,” said Knox, who did most of his damage in the Fall Series with three finishes in the top 20. “That was my goal. So I think I can pat myself on the back.”
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Charlie Beljan’s once five-shot lead is no more.
Leading by a handful of shots and seemingly well on his way to his first career win, Beljan double-bogeyed one of the easiest holes on the Magnolia Course, the par-4 13th.
He now leads by just two with Robert Garrigus right behind him. Three others are three shots back.
Prior to the final round of the 2012 Children's Miracle Network Hospitals Classic, Doug Bell and Dennis Paulson from SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio describe the drama of the last round of the PGA TOUR season.