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 .