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A Cinderella story: Beljan comes back from brink

Story highlights

  • Charlie Beljan wins first PGA Tour event after being hospitalized
  • The U.S. rookie suffered an elevated heart rate and numbness in his arm on Friday
  • Beljan's two-stroke win guarantees him a PGA Tour card for the 2013 season
  • Beljan: "I was literally fighting for my life and I just think that you can't ever give up"

It was a Cinderella story taken straight from the script of a Disney classic.

On Friday, Charlie Beljan thought he was dying at the Magnolia Golf Course in Florida, with his professional golf career also about to take a potentially fatal blow .

But two days later the American rookie was celebrating his first victory on the U.S.-based circuit, retaining his Tour card for 2013 after a win at the appropriately named Children's Miracle Network Hospitals Classic.

Beljan was taken to hospital after Friday's second round suffering from an elevated heart rate and numbness in his left arm after finishing the day's round as leader of the tournament.

Ignoring advice from doctors to rest, Beljan played on over the weekend and carded a three-under-par round of 69 on Sunday, which secured him a two-shot victory over compatriot Matt Every.

As Beljan celebrated with his seven-week old son on the 18th green a band played "Zippity-Do-Dah" -- from the 1946 Disney "Song of the South" -- and a wonderful day for the Arizona native was complete.

    "Every day I drove underneath that Disney sign coming in here that said, 'Where dreams come true,' and that's just what happened this week," the 28-year-old told the PGA Tour's official website. "And I'm so grateful and so honored."

    The win means Beljan will not have to navigate the PGA Tour's offseason qualifying school.

    "It was incredible," Beljan said after picking up the eighth win of his pro career. "I was happy that I was a PGA Tour champion. I was happy that my wife and my baby were here. It still isn't real."

    The good news kept coming for Beljan, who also pocketed a winner's check for $846,000.

    "You never know what's going to happen in this game or in the game of life," he added. "You keep plugging away."

    "I believe that everything happens for a reason, and sometimes days like Friday weren't very enjoyable, but the score was wonderful, and I think it taught me that it doesn't matter about your golf swing or your putting stroke."

    "I was literally fighting for my life and I just think that you can't ever give up."