Charlie Beljan was in a hospital bed in the middle of the night, still wearing his golf shoes, thinking his season was over.
He was about six hours from his tee time Saturday at Disney in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Just 12 hours earlier, he was having a panic attack on the golf course so severe that he could barely breathe, his blood pressure spiked and his arms felt numb. After signing his score card -- an 8-under 64 -- he was strapped into a stretcher, loaded into an ambulance and taken to a hospital.
"I thought I literally had a chance to die," he said.
In a turnaround that even by Disney's standards seems like a fairy tale, the 28-year-old rookie now has a chance to win his first PGA Tour title.
Beljan was released from the hospital, overcame two early bogeys and was solid over the final hour in the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals Classic for a 1-under 71 at the Magnolia course that gave him a two-shot lead going into the final round.
"I didn't know if I was going to play one hole, any holes or was I going to get through the day," Beljan said. "I felt good, better as the day went on, and I just hung tough, hung in there. I knew what the rewards were at the end of the week if I could pull something off, and that's kind of what kept me going."
This is the final tour event of the year, and Beljan is No. 139 on the money list. Only the top 125 get full cards for next year. Doctors told him he was in good enough health to be released but perhaps not to play golf. He ignored their recommendations.
"The position I'm in, it's kind of hard not to show up," he said.
Beljan felt some tightening in his chest as he approached the turn, the same symptoms that caused much fear Friday. But he steadied himself on the back nine.
He was at 13-under 203, two shots ahead of Brian Gay (67), Josh Teater (67) and former Cal star Charlie Wi, who was tied for the lead until closing with two bogeys for a 70.
"It's nice to be able to walk around and smile," Beljan said. "Yesterday, I was hanging on for my life.
"It's been a long, exciting, hectic, crazy, stressful year. Hopefully, we're going to end it with a bang."
LPGA Tour: Inbee Park moved into position for her third win of the year, shooting a 6-under 66 to take a two-stroke lead into the final round of the Lorena Ochoa Invitational. The South Korean had a 15-under 201 total at Guadalajara (Mexico) Country Club. Cristie Kerr was second after a 67. Stanford graduate Michelle Wie (67) was tied for sixth at 8 under. Ochoa was 3 under after a 70.
European Tour: Matteo Manassero shot a 7-under 64 to take a two-stroke lead into the final round of the rain-delayed Singapore Open. The 19-year-old Italian played the final 15 holes of the round Sunday morning, opening with four straight birdies. He had an 11-under 202 total.
Louis Oosthuizen was second after a 65. Rory McIlroy was 4 under after a 69, while Phil Mickleson was 1 under, also after a 69.