BANGOR, Maine — Mike Dugas said he hadn’t played in the Greater Bangor Open in “seven or eight years.”
But the 44-year-old golf pro at the J.W. Parks Golf Course in Pittsfield is getting his game back together, and it showed with an impressive 4-under par 134 which left him in an 11th place tie with Jhared Hack of Sanford, Fla., Saturday at Bangor Municipal Golf Course.
Dugas shot an even-par 69 after posting a 4-under par 65 on Thursday. Friday’s round was rained out.
It was a busy Saturday for Dugas.
“This morning, I got a 76-player tournament [started at J.W. Parks] before coming here to play 18 holes,” said Dugas. “I like this course. And it’s an easy fit. I can drive back and forth from Pittsfield without renting a hotel.”
His high school-aged sons Gavin and Eric, who are very good golfers, played an important role in Dugas’ return to playing golf.
“As the kids started getting older and playing competitively, they’d say every night ‘Dad, let’s go play,’” said Dugas. “We have quite a golfing family. I’m back to the point where I have a reasonable idea where my ball is going. I’m working on it.”
Dugas qualified for the National Club Pro Championship in Oregon last month.
He didn’t make the cut but he pointed out that “I was one of 13 pros among 730 in New England who got to go. I was pretty fortunate. I’m having fun,” said Dugas. “I’ve started weight training in the winter to help me maintain the distance I do have.”
Dugas said one of the reasons he had to put his golf game on the back burner is because he was busy working at the golf course and at Central Maine Golf Carts and Power Equipment. He is one of the company’s owners.
He said he is enjoying golf because he isn’t trying to make a living out of it.
“When you’re playing golf for a living, there’s a lot of pressure to earn checks,” said Dugas. “I’m very fortunate that my father-in-law, Stan Kitchin, supports me. The whole family supports me.”
Husband-wife have GBO vacation
For Garry Bartlett and his wife Angela Carver of Fredericton, New Brunswick, the Greater Bangor Open supplies them with a vacation getaway.
For most of the past 16 years, Garry Bartlett attends the Greater Bangor Open. He walks the final 18 holes with the leaders group. Angela will join him later in the round.
“I love golf, and this is a chance to see some good golf. You get the opportunity to see some up-and-comers,” said Bartlett. “And we like to stay at the Hollywood Slots hotel.”
The Bartletts enjoy the area.
“It’s quiet, and the people are all friendly,” said Bartlett. “We like the Maine hospitality.”
Angela said she has a good time at the restaurants and doing a little shopping.
Garry said he discovered a place he considers his favorite eating establishment in Bangor: Papa Gambino’s.
“I love their pizza,” he said.
Reynolds helps tournament staff
One of the men who works at the Bangor Municipal Golf Course during the Greater Bangor Open is Bobby Reynolds, who has been a club member since it opened 50 years ago.
Reynolds drives a golf cart carrying a scoreboard containing the scores of the golfers in the final threesome. He updates the scoreboard after every hole if the scores change.
“I enjoy watching the golfers. They swing the clubs so easy,” said the 86-year-old Reynolds, a retired barber who tries to play golf four or five times a week.
He said the Greater Bangor Open is very “player-friendly” and he noted that there have been a lot of changes and improvements to the course over the years.
Steger enjoys Greater Bangor Open, lobsters
Eric Steger, who won the Greater Bangor Open, said he intends to put the $9,000 he earned in the bank.
“I’ll use it to get into other tournaments,” said Steger. “It’s a constant process. Money comes and money goes.”
Steger’s first trip to the Greater Bangor Open was memorable in more ways than one.
“It’s a great tournament. It’s well-run and supported by the people around here. It’s a nice atmosphere and I like the course. The people are great,” said Steger who also admitted that Thursday night’s free lobster bake left a lasting impression.
“I had several lobsters. They were great. Seafood is my favorite food,” said the Rocky Hill, Conn., native.
Steger was one of the golfers who walked the course rather than using a cart. Carts are allowed at the Greater Bangor Open.
“The Connecticut Open is on Monday and they don’t allow carts so I wanted to get used to it,” he said. “I’d rather ride. But I enjoyed walking.”
Playing partners Jesse Larson and Jon McLean did give Steger a ride from time to time when he asked.
Steger will attend qualifying school this fall to try to earn a spot on the Web.com tour.