Beljan soars into PGA lead on eagles wings
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Florida (AFP) –
PGA rookie Charlie Beljan, fighting to keep his job, made two eagles on his way to firing an eight-under par 64 Friday to seize the lead at the final event of the US PGA season.
The American stood on 12-under 132 after the second round of the $4.7 million Childrens Miracle Network, three strokes in front of seven rivals trying to deny him the first triumph of his brief career.
Beljan began the week at 139th on the 2012 US PGA Tour money list at $527,528 and needing to finish the event in the top 125 on the season prize money chart to keep his playing rights for next season.
Winning the tournament would bring a top prize of $846,000 and leap Beljan to 65th on the money list.
Beljan had made the cut in only six of 18 prior events, with a best of sharing third at the Greenbrier Classic in July and a share of 10th at the McGladrey Classic last month.
But with his career on the line, Beljan came out firing, opening the second round with an eagle at the par-5 first. Birdies followed at the par-3 third, par-4 fifth and par-5 seventh.
Beljan began the back nine with a birdie then eagled the par-5 11th. After a bogey at the 12th, he bounced back with birdies on the next two holes and even a bogey at 17 could only give the trailing pack a bit more hope with 36 holes remaining.
Sharing second on 135 were Japan’s Ryuji Imada, South Korean Charlie Wi, Australian Matt Jones, Sweden’s Henrik Stenson and Americans Harris English, Mark Anderson and Charles Howell.
Jones, who fired a 64 for his low round of the year, and Imada must finish higher to crack the season’s top 125.
“Better late than never,” Jones said. “Hopefully we can keep going.”
“One good weekend can mean a lot. It can turn your whole year around,” Imada said. “I’m in position to do that, but still got a long ways to go. I’ve had an awful year this year, so no expectations. Just going to go out and play hard.”