The last time Jason Widener played in the Greater Bangor Open Golf Tournament, he won it. It was 1994.
Three years later, after spending a year on the European Tour, he stopped playing to become a golf instructor and coach. He was an assistant at Duke University in North Carolina and the head coach at the University of North Carolina-Wilmington.
He is a private instructor now but decided to return to competitive golf “to become a better coach.
“I have a lot of aspiring professionals and college players and I want to know what I’m doing when I go out on the course with them. So I started working on my own game and here I am competing again. It’s fun,” said the 46-year-old native of Greensboro, North Carolina.
Widener, who shot a one-under-par 68 in Thursday’s opening round at the Bangor Municipal Golf Course, said the course doesn’t seem to have changed much in 23 years.
“It’s in really good shape. The greens are rolling well. I remember some of the shots I hit years ago. It’s really nice to be back,” said Widener who particularly recalled a wedge shot he hit “that kept me going.
“It was really fun to win,” he added.
This is more than just a golf trip for Widener. He also brought his wife, Hannah, and daughters Ava, who is 14, and Zenna (12).
“‘I’m at a different place in my life right now. We took the scenic route driving up here. We took our time and took in the sights. We’re having a ball,” he said.
He was pleased with his 68.
“It was a little bit of a grind today but I’m happy with it,” said Widener.