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BONITA SPRINGS, Fla. (CBS Local) — Alligators lounging along golf course lakes aren’t that unusual in Florida, but helping a player avoid a penalty stroke is rare.

That’s what happened Saturday at Bonita National Golf Club in Bonita Springs, along Florida’s west coast.

Joanne and Len Sadowsky said they were playing in a local couples tournament when she had a bad tee off on second hole, sending the ball toward one of the 17 lakes on the course.

“I shanked the ball to the right, and it was heading to the water,” she told the Naples Daily News. “It was close to the gator’s head. He saw it, jumped up and caught it.”

Because Sadowsky’s light pink golf ball was “caught” by an alligator, she was entitled to a free drop.

“It saved me from a hazard penalty,” she said. “We’ve seen them with a fish or a turtle in their mouths, but never a golf ball.”

Unfortunately for the Sadowskys, the lucky break didn’t help them win the tournament.

“We came close but were just out of the money,” Joanne Sadowsky said.