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Alligator Attacks Golf Course Worker

NEW PORT RICHEY, Fla. -- Authorities say a man retrieving balls from a New Port Richey golf course lake was attacked by a 7-foot alligator.

A Pasco County sheriff's spokesman says Vernon Messier, wearing a diver's wet suit, was standing in waist-deep water on the number five hole of the Timber Greens Golf Course this morning when the alligator bit his left foot.

Messier told deputies he gouged at the creature's eyes and tried to pry its jaws apart while trying to free himself. Messier refused medical treatment and said he would drive himself to a hospital. He suffered minor injuries to his foot.

Messier said he was an independent contractor who collected golf balls from the course for resale.
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