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MMSC: Beljan's journey to a win and the Race to Dubai

By Shane Bacon | Blogger

This past week's final PGA Tour event of the season was a strange one as you probably know. Eventual winner Charlie Beljan nearly didn't even complete his second round after having some medical issues on the golf course, later saying he felt he was going to die at the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals Open (ironic spin there, no?).

Beljan not only finished that round but -- after a hospital visit that night -- went on to win his first PGA Tour event thanks to a final round that included eight birdies (offset by three bogeys and a double, but still).

I don't get to say this much, but the Beljan thing is interesting to me for a number of reasons. First, I really enjoy seeing guys who are outside the top 125 make a push over the final week of the season to earn their card for the next year (Beljan lands two years with his win, but still getting it done when he had to get it done).

But the interesting thing personally is it's a pretty neat thing to see a guy whom you used to play with on the mini tours go out and check a box off his career goal's list. Beljan was a Gateway Tour player back in the day (shockingly, a little more successful there than I). But he had to start somewhere. About two years ago, it seemed that he was destined to do big things when the dude almost couldn't finish out of the top five.

I know what you're saying. "It's just the Gateway Tour. What's the big deal?" Well, the deal is, you have to post about five- or six-under just to make the cut these days. To win, you have to play nearly flawless golf, no matter if The Golf Channel isn't there with cameras. Beljan was one of the few who was able to dominate on that tour for months at a time.

The long-hitter has taken his talents to the PGA Tour, and his win on Sunday ensured that he will be around for a couple more years.

A dramatic finish to a really solid year on the PGA Tour.

Meanwhile in Europe …

When the FedEx Cup started, I was a pretty big hater about the event. I didn't really get the idea of "playoffs" and thought the whole system was flawed.

The last couple of years have changed my mind a little. But when you see what happens in Europe with the Race to Dubai, you realize the FedEx Cup is really second in terms of big-money grabs to end a golf season.

This weekend in Singapore, Rory McIlroy wrapped up the Euro money title. But it was how dramatic the finish to the event was that showed that there is still great golf this late in the year.

Louis Oosthuizen and Matteo Manassero found themselves in a playoff. After Oosthuizen missed a bunny eagle putt that would have closed it out, the teenager rolled in a 20-footer for eagle on the final playoff hole to win his third European Tour event of the year.

McIlroy gets a ton of praise for how good he is, and he should. But it's strange that we glance past Manassero so often. The kid was born in 1993 (he's 19!) and has three European Tour wins and has made the cut in every major championship at least once (his best finish is a T-13 at the Open in 2009, when he was, ahem, 16.

This kid is going to make the next Ryder Cup team, and that is just another blow for an American squad that can't seem to produce the extremely young talent that the Europeans do.

Flip-out time

If you haven't watched the video of former D-III golf coach Matt Mahanic go absolutely ballistic on his golf team, you probably should check it out (but understand, both headline and audio are extremely not safe for work).

I've never understood coaches or parents getting mad at their kids/players for having a bad round. Unless you can honestly see that they gave up, it isn't like youngsters are out there trying to play bad. Golf is hard. If nothing else, a golf coach should understand that.

Thankfully, Mahanic was let go. As long as the Internet is around, he won't have a job helping kids try to play solid golf ever again.

 
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