GROTON — If Lloyd Fisher hit a disappointing shot Tuesday or started to contemplate negative thoughts, he took out his ball mark and looked at it.

It's a coin that's larger than a silver dollar and has a Marine Corps emblem on it. It's just like the one his son, Brandon, carries with him.

"He's going to Afghanistan in October," Fisher said after winning the Connecticut Senior Open Tuesday. "The coin reminds me of the hardships he'll go through. He's risking his life. I'm just playing golf."

Inspired by his son, Fisher carded a 5-under-par 66 to win the 36-hole championship at Shennecossett Golf Course, finishing at 5-under 137. Fisher, a pro from Grand Rapids, Mich., defeated 2009 champion Jerry Courville Jr. (70—139). Jim Becker was third (71—141). Last year's champion Dave Szewczul (69—142) was low amateur.

While Fisher recorded the lowest score of the final round to take home the $2,500 first-place check, Courville of Stratford had his own inspirational story.

In September he told The Courant he had a malignant tumor in his right lung that required surgery. It was successful, but recovery was slow and left him initially weaker and with pain on his right side.

He was able to return to the course this year, but can't play too much. On Tuesday he switched to a long putter.

"I have no feeling in my right hand and forearm, so this was better for getting a consistent, solid stroke," he said. "I didn't ride in the cart because the bouncing around causes me more pain in my right side. I've got some pain all the time. Still, it's tough for me not to compete."

Courville paused, smiled and said, "I'm happy to be playing and just being on the right side of the turf, living life."

Courville, who had shared the first-round lead (69) with Derek Waddington, was steady on Tuesday. But he lipped out birdie putts at Nos. 11, 12 and 13. A pulled second shot led to a bogey at the par-4 14th that dropped him to 2 under.

Fisher, playing three groups ahead of Courville, was on top of the leaderboard at 4 under through 16 holes by then. He had opened with a birdie at the first, but then bogeyed Nos. 2 and 4. Then he birdied Nos. 5, 8, 9, 10, 16 and 18.

"I asked him if he had ever been on the tour; that's how well he was hitting it," said Bill Lee, who played with Fisher and Craig Kealey.

Fisher, who turned 50 this year, was at Shennecossett GC because he "was just looking for someplace to play."

After finishing in a tie for second in his first pro event, the Michigan Senior Open, he missed qualifying at two Champions Tour events — the Principal Charity Classic and Montreal Championship.

"I missed the first one in Iowa by one shot," Fisher said. "Winning here means I can play at a high level. The first person I called after I birdied 18 was my son. I took out the coin. It was emotional. I won it for him." [Source: courant.com]


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