Beljan birdies 20th hole for U.S. Junior victory

Sunday, July 28th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

DULUTH, Ga. (AP) _ Charlie Beljan birdied the second playoff hole to beat Zac Reynolds in the final of the U.S. Junior Amateur Championship at Atlanta Athletic Club.

Beljan, a 17-year-old from Mesa, Ariz., hit a 9-iron about 2 feet from the pin on the 154-yard, par-3 17th hole and, after Reynolds missed a 30-footer for birdie, Reynolds made his birdie putt for the victory.

Reynolds, 17, of Edmond, Okla., forced the playoff after Beljan hit his second shot into the water on the 18th hold of the Highlands Course.

``I thought to myself, I gave the win away on 18,'' Beljan said. ``I can't handle any more of this, let's win it or lose it here. I said the heck with the middle of the green. I took dead aim at the flag and hit it about 2 feet.''

Two down after 10 holes, Reynolds squared the match by making pars on 13 and 14. But he double bogeyed the par-3 15th after hitting his tee shot in the water to fall 1 down before tying the match one more time on the 18th when Beljan hit his approach shot in the water.

``I had an 8-iron from 165 yards,'' Beljan said of the errant shot. ``I just wanted to walk off the golf course and go sit by myself.''

By reaching the final, both players are exempt from qualifying for the U.S. Amateur, being held Aug. 19-25 at Oakland Hills Country Club in Bloomfield Hills, Mich.