Beljan keeps tour card with emotional victory
Beljan keeps tour card with emotional victory
Beljan carded a three-under par 69 final round, countering a double-bogey and three bogeys with eight birdies for a 16-under total of 272.
Matt Every and Robert Garrigus both shot four-under 68 in the final round to share second place on 14-under 274, and Brian Gay was a stroke further back after a 70 for 275.
Beljan, who came into the final tournament of the season at 139th on the money list, needed a good week to move into the top 125 and secure full playing privileges for next season.
With the victory, he’s guaranteed his tour card for the next two seasons and a berth in the PGA Championship, but for a time it looked as if he wouldn’t even be able to finish the tournament.
“I’m speechless. My family flew in last night, I’ve got everybody back home rooting for me. I didn’t even think I’d get to finish my round on Friday.
“Yesterday I showed up just hoping to be able to finish 18 holes and now here I am ... the champion.
“This is the greatest feeling ever,” Beljan said.
Beljan, who held his seven-week-old son as he walked off the 18th green, was in hospital on Friday night, after a panic attack had him battling shortness of breath, an elevated heart rate and light-headedness during the second round.
He even told his caddie he thought his life was in jeopardy, but he opted to return to the course on Saturday and had emerged from the third round with a two-shot lead.
Even so, Beljan said he wasn’t feeling so great on Sunday morning.
“I did not feel well this morning. I woke up, not the same symptoms, but my stomach was hurting, my head was pounding and I was like here we go again,” he said. “You know, that may have took the other nerves off.”
Beljan missed the green at the first hole, leading to a quick bogey.
He rebounded with birdies at two and four, but a bogey at the fifth dropped him into a tie for the lead.
Beljan got hot at the seventh, however, draining a birdie putt from off the green. At the par-five eighth he landed his third shot within two feet and made that for birdie, and at nine he drained a 30-footer.
He made his fourth birdie in as many holes at the 10th, then drained another long birdie putt at 12.
His momentum slowed with a double-bogey from a greenside bunker at 13.
“I still had a three-shot lead, so I knew I just had to keep plugging away,” Beljan said.
Tim Herron closed with a 69 to finish tied for ninth, just squeaking into the top 125.
But there was disappointment for some who started the week on the edge. Australian Rod Pampling and American Billy Mayfair, who both missed the cut, fell to 127 and 128, respectively. Their status in the top 150 will give them partial status for next year, allowing them into some events but not all.
Profligate Arsenal punished by 10-man Atletico Madrid
- The Gunners played with an extra man for over 80 minutes
- Arsenal now need to become the first away team to score in 12 matches at Atletico’s Wanda Metropolitano stadium next week
LONDON: Arsenal’s hopes of sending outgoing manager Arsene Wenger off with a trophy suffered a major blow as they could only draw 1-1 with 10-man Atletico Madrid in the first leg of their Europa League semifinal on Thursday.
The Gunners played with an extra man for over 80 minutes at the Emirates Stadium, with Sime Vrsaljko’s early red card handing them the initiative.
However, they were made to rue a host of missed chances before and after Alexandre Lacazette headed them in front on the hour mark.
Atletico coach Diego Simeone was also sent to the stands shortly after Vrsaljko’s dismissal, but the Spaniards resisted manfully and pounced when their chance came as Antoine Griezmann prodded home a vital away goal eight minutes from time.
Arsenal now need to become the first away team to score in 12 matches at Atletico’s Wanda Metropolitano stadium next week if Wenger’s last game in charge is to be the final in his homeland in Lyon on May 16.
Moreover, Arsenal’s hopes of Champions League football next season also hang on becoming the first side other than Real Madrid to eliminate Atletico from Europe for five seasons.
There was a far more highly-charged atmosphere for Wenger’s penultimate home game in charge than there had been for last weekend’s game against West Ham United.
And the hosts were given plenty of encouragement early on, even when still up against Atletico’s full complement.
Lacazette volleyed off the outside of the post and forced Jan Oblak into the first of a series of fine saves with a header from close range.
Vrsaljko had been booked within two minutes for bringing down Jack Wilshere.
"Absolutely criminal."— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 26, 2018
Arsenal dominate for 81 minutes, and then... Antoine Griezmann comes up with a huge away goal for Atleti.
A sucker-punch for Arsene Wenger :facepunch: pic.twitter.com/z24UgZE60j
And the Croatian left his side a man light after just 10 minutes when French referee Clement Turpin showed no leniency for another late challenge on Lacazette.
Moments later, Simeone was also dismissed by the officious referee for taking his protests too far when an Arsenal player wasn’t booked for what he thought was a similar foul.
Atletico’s excellent defensive record is what has carried them to five European semifinals in seven seasons under Simeone.
The visitors battened down the hatches with 10 men, but were reliant on Oblak to keep them in the tie.
Wilshere headed straight at Oblak when unmarked at the back post at the end of a flowing Arsenal move.
And the Slovenian then spread himself well with an outstretched leg to deny Danny Welbeck.
Having weathered the Gunners’ early storm, Atletico only began to threaten themselves late in the first half and David Ospina had to be alert to parry a fiercely struck Griezmann shot following a fine run from Thomas Partey.
Atletico retreated ever deeper toward their own goal after the break and were finally punished on the hour mark when Wilshere’s deep cross found Lacazette rising above Lucas Hernandez to head in his seventh goal in seven games.
However, the French international and Arsenal could have had more.
Laczette’s dangerous ball across goal found no takers before he headed another good opportunity wide.
And Arsenal paid heavily for their profligacy, and some comical defending, when Atletico grabbed a vital away goal on 82 minutes.
Griezmann outmuscled French international team-mate Laurent Koscielny and then benefited from a slip by Shkodran Mustafi after his initial effort had been saved by Ospina to prod his 27th goal of the season into the roof of the net.
There was still time for Oblak to show why Griezmann isn’t the only Atletico player wanted by Europe’s elite with a spectacular one-handed save to turn Aaron Ramsey’s header behind and keep Los Rojiblancos on course for another European final.