A GOLF player says he had the shock of his life when a puma ran past him on the 11th fairway. Eddie Smith, a member of Abbotsley Golf and Country Club, said he was playing on the Cromwell course in Eynesbury Hardwicke when he spotted the big cat at about

Eddie Smith

A GOLF player says he had the shock of his life when a puma ran past him on the 11th fairway.

Eddie Smith, a member of Abbotsley Golf and Country Club, said he was playing on the Cromwell course in Eynesbury Hardwicke when he spotted the big cat at about 7.30am on Thursday (May 21).

Initially, the 62-year old say he did not believe his eyes, but the animal was in clear view and could not have been mistaken for anything else.

Mr Smith said: "I have never seen anything like this before. The animal that passed me - at great speed - was definitely a puma. It was light-brown and about the size of a Labrador but it was definitely not a dog. There is no way it could have been any other animal.

"The 11th fairway is right next to a thick copse, so it is possible that it has made its home there.

"This really is a story to tell the grandchildren."

Mr Smith, of Bell Lane, Fenstanton, added: "It didn't notice me and ran past at some speed. It seemed to be chasing something. People believe me when I tell them about it, but my wife just laughed."

Despite a puma being on the prowl, Mr Smith said it would not put him off visiting the course.

"I was apprehensive but just kept my eye on it until it went out of view then I gingerly carried on playing golf. This isn't going to put me off visiting the course as I love playing golf there."

Nicky Briggs, general manager at Abbotsley Golf Club said she, for one, believes Mr Smith saw a puma as she herself has found evidence of a big cat at the club.

In February, during the heavy snow, she said she was walking on the course and saw the biggest paw prints she has ever seen. She followed the prints and found a trail of blood leading to the corpse of a badger which had been half-eaten.

"I hadn't thought too much about my find in February until Eddie came off the course on Thursday morning," she said. "My suspicions appear to have been confirmed. I am very keen to get an expert to the course to look into the possibility of a big cat living nearby, so that all my members can continue to play golf without fear of encountering a puma."

Huntingdonshire is no stranger to big cat sightings with recent 'Fen Tiger' sightings in Graveley, St Ives, Papworth, Alconbury and Yelling.

INFORMATION: Have you seen a puma or wild big cat in Huntingdonshire and did you get a photograph of it, if so e-mail editor@huntspost.co.uk or phone 01480 411481