Cocca keeps it together on last hole

ROOKERY Park's Keith Bagot spent a number of years in the merchant navy.

He is now a self-employed marine consultant and supervises the movement of oil rigs, which made him a fitting winner of the RNLI competition.

Now a 16 handicapper, he started his golfing career by joining friends for a round at Southwold GC.

Eventually, he joined the old Pakefield club and has since won a number of turkey competitions. At Rookery he once scored a hole-in-one on the difficult 11th hole.

He also won the inaugural UK Oil Industry National Championship at the Belfry. As work restricted his golf he made an arrangement with the then professional, Tony Butcher. He took old, unsaleable balls for practice.

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Having a mat on board ship and hitting balls into the sea was no use as the waves would turn a down hill lie on the backswing into an uphill lie on the downswing.

Instead, he placed a mat on the quayside and hit the old balls across the water to a small patch of spare ground on the other side of the harbour. Many balls would fall short and disappear into the water. He often wondered what the people who dredged the harbour thought when they found golf balls in the mud.

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Bagot's partner in compiling the winning score of 42 points was greens' committee member, Ralph Flatt, who, despite his darts encounter with Eric Bristow, has admitted that he is not quite ready to take on Phil Taylor. Both golfers played steadily and cogged perfectly. Jon Fisher with Sean Pike, 40 points, Kevin and Patrick Fitzgerald, 39, finished in second and third positions.

Steve Cocca, took up golf 20 years ago when he packed up football to look for a new sport.

The social side of golf attracted him and he joined Southern Valley Golf Club in Kent.

Despite a five-year lay-off, when he came to Lowestoft three years ago he decided to join Rookery Park, and take golf seriously.

Unfortunately, as he was waiting to be accepted he was involved in a car crash which 'broke every bone in one leg'.

As he recovered, arthritis set in and when he was able to play golf again he needed pain-killers to get round the course. His dogged determination paid off when he won the Sunday Stableford with 36 points off a handicap of 15. With seven holes to play, however, he ran out of the juice he needed to take the tablets.

He had to resort to his gin flask, normally used for the occasional sip to keep warm. The required gulps soon had an effect and he began to feel 'whoozy'.

He hung on to finish the round but said that he had never before had to putt out on 'moving' greens.

Simon West and Gordon Maclean finished second and third.

David Batley

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