Norwich - Throughout 18 grueling holes on a sticky hot Sunday, Kevin Marcoux kept his composure.
He finally unleashed his emotions after sinking a championship clinching eight-foot putt on the 18th hole to win his first Norwich Invitational title. He pumped his fist and then hugged his wife, Cary, and 10-year-old son Nolan.
"It was great," Marcoux said of the moment. "It was my time. I just felt calm, hit a good putt and it went in."
Then Marcoux started to cry.
"It's so emotional," he continued. "This is the tournament that I've always wanted to win, that I gear up for all year. All the big dogs play here. To have my name up on that wall with those names ... I'm just a little baseball player coming out of Plainfield High School and never played golf until I was 20."
It is indeed a remarkable story.
Marcoux, a 41-year-old from Danielson and Killingly High School's golf coach, recounted his personal golf story that added another chapter with his 1-up win over Bret Siekierski, the 2008 champion, in the 86th Invite at Norwich Golf Course.
He talked about how Ray Carignan, who ran Brooklyn Country Club, convinced him to take up golf and how he gradually fell in love with the sport. Before Carignan passed away about seven years ago, he told Marcoux that he would win the Invite someday.
He thought of his teacher and friend on Sunday.
"He taught me everything," Marcoux said. "He was a great friend of mine."
And Marcoux also teared up talking about his young son. Last week he decided not to enter the Invite because he's an assistant coach for Nolan's all-star baseball team that reached the state sectionals.
But Arthur Guertin, who served as his caddy this weekend, convinced Marcoux to enter Friday's qualifying round. Marcoux faced a dilemma when he shot a 70 and qualified for the championship flight.
He approached his family about playing and asked Nolan.
"He's been here before and knows how much I love it," Marcoux said. "I said, 'I know you're in the all-star game and Dad's your coach. What do you think if Dad plays?' He said, 'Dad, go ahead and play.'
"That was huge."
And Marcoux played huge all day.
First, he defeated six-time Norwich club champion Chris DeLucia, 1-up, in a morning semifinal. Following a short break, he took on Siekierski, who knocked off Dave Jones, the low amateur at the Connecticut Senior Open last week, 4 and 3.
It was an intense match. Both golfers started hot, making birdies on the first two holes. Neither golfer led by more than one hole.
"Every single shot is full commitment," said Marcoux who reached the semifinals last year.
He clung to a one-hole lead until the 16th when Siekierski drained a short birdie putt to even the match.
On the par 4, 17th, Siekierski finally stumbled. His second shot sailed over the green, leaving him with a tough downhill lie. He chipped on but missed an 18-foot par putt. Marcoux hit a nice approach shot and made par to win the hole.
"I knew I had to make it and I didn't hit it hard enough and it just broke off and missed," Siekierski said of his putt.
A nice up and down by Marcoux and a bit of luck helped him seal the win on the par-3 18th.
After his tee shot landed just short of the right-side bunker, he deftly chipped on within eight feet. Siekierski's tee shot hit just short of the green and took a strange, short bounce after apparently hitting a sprinkler head.
"You have to have the breaks and I did," said Marcoux.
Siekierski, 25, had championship flight experience on his side, playing in his third final. He had a busy week of golf, playing in the Massachusetts amateur over three days last week.
But he didn't make any excuses.
"He played great," said Siekierski who's from Thompson and plays out of Connecticut National in Putnam. "He's just a great guy. I'm happy that he won. … I just fell a little short."
It was a good day for both father and son in the Marcoux family.
Nolan's baseball team won its sectional game on Sunday. He wore his Killingly all-star uniform to the Invite.