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'It was literally a dinosaur.' Large alligator sneaks up on golfers at Kiawah Island golf course

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A chance encounter with a large alligator at Kiawah Island Club’s River Course has created quite the social media buzz for the Barrier Islands Free Medical Clinic.

Carrie Moores, the Marketing and Communications Specialist for the Johns Island clinic, was taking photos during a fund-raising golf tournament Monday when out of the corner of her eye she saw an alligator heading toward a group of golfers with their backs turned.

“I was marching up to the hole with my camera poised to get the golfers’ picture. Then I realized the alligator and I were coming together in a ‘V’ right toward the golfers. I quickly snapped the photo, then ran back to the person who was driving a golf cart for me to see if she knew what the protocol was for an alligator on the golf course,” Moores said.

Moores said she and her driver eventually got the golfers’ attention, and they hopped in their cart and drove away. Meanwhile, the gator continued on its way before disappearing into a lagoon near where the golfers had been standing.

Moores, who moved to the Lowcountry from New Haven, Connecticut, last summer, said the only alligators she had seen previously were in a zoo and weren’t nearly as massive as this monster.

“Alligators are quite a new thing for me. I’m used to squirrels that may try to mug you, but nothing larger than that. It was literally a dinosaur. People said it was one of the largest ones they had ever seen,” Moores said.

While the big gator was the talk of the afternoon, there was another buzz. The tournament is one of the major fund-raisers for Barrier Islands Free Medical Clinic (, which serves the health and wellness needs of uninsured, low-income adults who live or work on Johns, Wadmalaw and James Islands. The tournament raised more than $200,000, enough to fund 3,800 patient visits for the year.