BANGOR, Maine — Shawn Warren will always remember his first victory as a professional golfer.
It was the 2008 Greater Bangor Open.
The Windham native, who is an assistant pro at the Falmouth Country Club, will be looking to annex his second GBO championship when the three-day, 54-hole tournament gets underway on Thursday at the Bangor Municipal Golf Course.
“That was something I definitely look back on,” said the 29-year-old Warren before teeing off during Wednesday’s pro-am. “I have used the experience I received winning that event to win other events.”
Warren won the Rhode Island Open and New England PGA Championship last year.
“My game is in good shape coming into this week. It has been a good season,” said Warren. “I have been playing a lot of sectional tournaments throughout New England. I’m looking forward to getting back out here on this golf course to see how my game really is.”
Warren said it takes a “variety of things” to win the GBO.
“It’s the type of course that doesn’t cater to one type of game. Short hitters have won here and long hitters have won here,” said Warren. “You have some short holes and some long holes. You’ve got some holes that are wide open and you have some on the back nine that are pretty narrow.”
“The greens are always pretty tricky especially where they put the pins,” added Warren, who shot a 64 in the pro-am to tie Matt Saglio of Clearwater, Florida, for the day’s best score.
Warren has continued his pursuit of the PGA Tour but didn’t make it last year.
He made it through the first stage of qualifying school but not the second.
“There are three stages and if you get through the second stage, you at least get your Web.com Tour card,” said Warren. “That’s my goal. I’ll go back in the fall and try to make it through. If it doesn’t happen, I’m content with teaching and playing in some [regional] events.”
Warren is one of several former winners in the field.
Eric Egloff of Sandy Spring, Maryland, won it in 1995 and will be playing in his 20th consecutive GBO.
“To win it, you need low scores for three days,” said Egloff. “I won it the first time I played in it. I shot six-under par.”
The GBO is a special event for the 49-year-old Egloff, who plays a lot of tournaments every year.
“It’s like a major for me. I love it. You’ve got great people, it’s a great tournament and it’s well-supported. And I love the town,” said Egloff.
He said his golf game “isn’t bad” these days.
“It’s better than it was last year,” said Egloff.
Two players who will be making their GBO debuts will be 49-year-old Bobby Gage, who was born in Winsted, Connecticut, and has played in 28 PGA Tour events and 143 Nationwide (now Web.com) tournaments, and 28-year-old Camiko Smith of Bermuda, who is seeking a career on the PGA Tour.
Gage teaches golf in New Jersey while Smith has relocated to Florida.
“Playing on the PGA and Nationwide tours was good. I wasn’t good enough, obviously, but I hung in there for a while,” said Gage, who has spent the last six years teaching golf. “I was told this was a good tournament, the lobster is good.”
Gage has played three recent tournaments and finished in the top 10 in each.
He was fourth at the Vermont and Providence opens and eighth at the Quebec Open.
“I’ve been playing solid but I’m mostly trying to get ready for next fall,” said Gage, referring to his goal of qualifying for the Champions Tour for golfers 50 years of age or older.
Smith said he heard about the GBO from a friend in Boston.
“And I know some golfers from Bermuda, like Michael Sims, have played in it before so I figured I’d come up and try it,” said Smith. “I’m definitely looking forward to it.”
Smith finished second in a playoff to Phil Eich in a Florida-based Foretheplayersgolf.com Tour event.
Bangor native Jesse Speirs, the 2011 GBO winner, and 2009 champion Marc Hurtubise of Chambly, Quebec, are also in the field along with 1997 victor John Hickson of Hampden.
But 2013 winner Eric Steger and 2012 titlist Will Mitchell aren’t entered.
Vermont’s Jesse Larson, who was second in last year’s rain-shortened 36-hole GBO, is back and will be a contender. He finished two shots behind Steger.
Bangor Municipal golf pro Brian Enman said he received a late entry from Fran Quinn, who finished tied for 56th in this year’s U.S. Open, and he will be included in the field.
Quinn was two-over-par after the first two rounds at the Pinehurst Resort and Country Club in Pinehurst, North Carolina before finishing at 14-over-par 294.