Beljan leaves hospital to keep Florida lead

Sat Nov 10, 2012 4:31pm EST

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(Reuters) - Charlie Beljan checked out of a Florida hospital after a major health scare and retained his Children's Miracle Network Hospitals Classic lead on Saturday.

Beljan, hospitalized after suffering an elevated heart-rate and shortness of breath at the tournament in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, shot a one-under 71 for a 203 total and a two-stroke lead over fellow Americans Brian Gay and Josh Teater and South Korean Charlie Wi.

Gay and Teater finished the third round at five-under 67 and Wi shot a 70.

"They released me saying that they thought I was good enough maybe not to go play golf, but at least to leave the hospital," the 28-year-old Beljan, who is fighting for a place on the PGA tour for 2013, told reporters before his stirring round.

"I'm still not feeling that great, but shoot, the position I'm in, it's kind of hard not to show up."

Beljan grabbed a three-shot lead on Friday by shooting a 64 despite breathing problems and having to lie down on the course several times during his round.

"That was probably the hardest day of my life," said Beljan, who told reporters he got only an hour of sleep and actually slept with his golf shoes on.

"The end result was that they think that everything was OK. That's why I'm here today," he said.

He said he had suffered similar episodes previously but not as bad as Friday.

Beljan said he passed out on a flight from Reno, Nevada last month and had to be taken to the hospital once the plane landed. Again, doctors were not able to come up with a diagnosis, he said.

(Reporting by Gene Cherry in Salvo, North Carolina, editing by Ed Osmond)

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