Golfer’s gesture just champion!

Craig MacNicol (runner-up), Archie Shanks (captain) and Stuart Bendoris (LGS club champion)
Craig MacNicol (runner-up), Archie Shanks (captain) and Stuart Bendoris (LGS club champion)
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A Leven golfer has turned the story of his unlikely club championship success into an entertaining new book.

And Stuart Bendoris has played a further ace stroke by donating all the proceeds to the defibrillator appeal at the town’s famous links course.

A campaign is under way to provide three potentially life-saving defibrillators at Leven’s home of Leven, so that, if anybody becomes ill while out on the course – or playing bowls at nearby Leven Bowling Club – they can have treatment which could save vital minutes before medical help arrives.

Stuart’s new book is called ‘Champion’, available on Amazon at £7.99, and it has prompted a good reaction from non-golfers, as well as those who follow the game.

Stuart, a member at Leven Golfing Society for 10 years, described his summer 2014 win as a “classic underdog story” and said it was the type of victory which normally was not supposed to happen to a “four (formerly 15) handicapper 42-year-old with a notoriously dodgy back”.

He added: “Nobody thought I would win it, including myself. The club championship is won by scratch golfers, not by guys like me.”

Many strange things happened to Stuart before and during the 36-hole matchplay final, so he decided to note them down and share them with friends – who suggested he turn them into a book.

At no time was he in front against opponent Craig MacNicol – “ an absolute gentleman; if we could have both won it, I’d have liked that” – until he sank the winning putt at the third extra play-off hole.

Earlier, Stuart had been one hole down at the 36th and played a shot while standing in the water at Scoonie Burn.

Stuart, of West Lothian, said he had heard of cases where golfers had taken ill while playing, so the appeal was “clearly a good cause”.

His employers at Lloyds Bank are also match-funding the amount he raises from book sales.

The defibrillator campaign was launched this summer with the backing of Leven Thistle and Leven Golfing Society, managed by the Leven Links Joint Committee, and neighbouring Leven Bowling Club.

It is also being supported by the Scottish Golf Union, Diageo – which put up £1000 to pay for the first of the three defibrillators for Leven – and the charity Play Golf Save Lives, which aims to have a defibrillator at every club or driving range in the UK and Ireland by the end of this year.

The Joint Committee signed up after a 71-year-old Leven golfer collapsed on the links in May – and fellow player and Diageo employee Gordon Robertson helped save his life by carrying out cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR).