Lake Buena Vista, FL – A day after struggling to complete his round, Charlie Beljan put together a 1-under 71 on Saturday to finish three rounds of the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals Classic with a 2-stroke lead.
Beljan ended 54 holes at 13-under-par 203. He will go for his first tour title on Sunday and needs to finish no worse than solo 13th to keep his tour card for next year.
He is 139th on the money list and needs a good finish, which is one reason he didn't withdraw from the tournament.
On Friday, Beljan battled a rapid heart rate and struggled with his breathing throughout the round. He spent the night in the hospital and got about an hour of sleep before being released Saturday morning.
"Yesterday leaving in an ambulance, I didn't know what to think. I didn't know if I'd even be able to open my eyes to be here today. I didn't know if I going to be able to play, but here I am with a great opportunity (Sunday)," Beljan said in a televised interview. "All I can do is smile and look forward to it."
Brian Gay and Josh Teater both shot 5-under 67 on Saturday. They moved into a share of second place at minus-11 with Charlie Wi (70). Wi bogeyed the final two holes to drop out of a share of the lead.
Camilo Villegas, who is 150th on the money list, managed a 2-under 70 to end at 10-under-par 206. He shares fifth place with Henrik Stenson (71), Robert Garrigus (70), Daniel Chopra (70), Vaughn Taylor (68), Matt Every (70) and Tommy Gainey (70).
The third round was played on the Magnolia Course at Walt Disney World Resort after players split the first two rounds on the Magnolia and Palm Courses, while playing with amateur partners.
Beljan struggled early on. He 3-putted for bogey on the first and did the same from the fringe on No. 3. That bogey dropped him into a 5-way tie for the lead.
At the par-5 fourth, Beljan 2-putted for birdie from 39 feet out to join Wi and Scott Stallings at 11-under.
Beljan drained a 9-footer for birdie at the seventh to regain the lead over Gay and Matt Jones, who played the last 10 holes in 3-over par to slide to minus-8.
Around the turn, Beljan 2-putted for birdie on the par-5 10th and made it two in a row with a kick-in birdie at No. 11.
"On about eight and nine, I told me caddie 'Look man, I'm not feeling too good. I'm starting to get the same type of symptoms.' So we ate a couple peanut butter sandwiches, we tried to breath a little bit, then the birdies on 10 and 11 kind of helped slow it down a little," Beljan said on TV of the way he felt during the round.
However, he found sand off the tee at the par-3 12th and that led to a bogey. Beljan was still ahead by one at that point. He closed with six pars in a row to keep his lead.
"I was 2-over through three and I just stayed strong. This is why we play this game, to have this opportunity going into (Sunday). It doesn't matter how I felt yesterday, I'm excited for tomorrow," Beljan said on TV afterwards.
Wi had three birdies and two bogeys on the front nine. He birdied the 10th, then dropped in back-to-back birdie chances at 13 and 14 to join Beljan at minus-13.
After a pair of pars, Wi stumbled to bogeys on the final two holes to slide back into a share of second place.
Gay, who started eight groups ahead of Beljan, had two birdies on the front nine. Around the turn, Gay poured in five consecutive birdies to briefly grab the lead at 13-under.
The 3-time PGA Tour winner faltered to bogeys at 16 and 17 to slip back to minus-11.
"That was fun there. I made an unbelievable birdie on 10, one of the best I've ever made, then made a couple short to medium putts and got on a roll there," Gay said. "You can make up a little ground there on 10 through 13, then you've got to hang on coming in."
Teater drained three birdies in a 4-hole span on the front nine, but gave two of those shots back as he bogeyed the eighth and ninth. Teater ran off four straight birdies from the 11th to grab a piece of second.
NOTES: Beljan had never held the lead after a round on the PGA Tour prior to Friday ... Cameron Beckman, who is tied for 12th, Chopra and Jones are all outside the top 125 on the money list and need a good finish this week to keep their tour card for next year.