BANGOR, Maine — Twenty-eight year-old Jason Thresher wasted little time establishing himself during the final round of the 51st annual Greater Bangor Open at the Bangor Municipal Golf Course on Saturday.
The West Suffield, Connecticut, native, who entered the final round tied for the lead with fellow Connecticut native C.J. Swift (New Canaan), birdied two of the first three holes to build a two-stroke lead and he went on to fire a bogey-free seven-under par 62 to win by four shots over Swift.
Thresher, who put on a brilliant putting display, carded a 15-under par 192 to pocket the first place money of $9,000. He had an opening round 66 and followed that with a 64 on Friday.
Swift wound up with an 11-under-par 196 (63-67-66) and took home $5,000.
Both were playing in their first GBO.
Matt Campbell of Rome, New York, who played in the U.S. Open at Erin Hills in Wisconsin last month, took third-place honors with a 10-under par 197 (68-65-64). He earned $3,100.
Jimmy Lytle, who is from Ocean Ridge, Florida, was one of three golfers at 198 along with Blake Morris of Waterbury, Connecticut, and Cian Curley of Dublin, Ireland. Lytle and Curley shot 65s on Saturday and Morris turned in a 66. They each won $1,933.33.
Brendan Lemp of Westerly, Rhode Island finished seventh at 199 and took home a check for $1,200.
There was a six-way tie for eighth at 201 involving Gorham’s Tommy Stirling, Mike Van Sickle of Wexford, Pennsylvania, Andrew Duvall of Ogdensburg, New York, Ryan Gildersleeve of Clearwater, Florida, 1994 GBO champ Jason Widener of Greensboro, North Carolina, and Tyler Sluman of Sarasota, Florida. They each took home $875.
Hampden native John Hickson, the 1997 GBO winner, won the seniors division (50-over) by posting a four-under 134 over the first two rounds. That was two shots better than 2009 HBO champ Marc Hurtubise and Jim Becker. Paul Grant was the low amateur at 228.
Thresher started his round by rolling in an eight-foot putt for a birdie three on the par four 334-yard opening hole and, after leaving a 20-foot birdie putt just six inches short on the second hole, he landed his tee shot to within six feet on the par-three third hole and sank the birdie putt.
“After making a birdie putt on the first hole, coming just one or two rotations from making a long one on the second and then making the birdie putt on the third, I had a good feeling on the greens,” said Thresher, who won his second straight Massachusetts Open last month.
“Putting was 100 percent the key today,” added Thresher, who played his college golf at Bryant University in Smithfield, Rhode Island. “I was feeling it.”
“Putting was the best part,” said Swift. “He had a lot of five-to-15 foot opportunities and it seemed like he made them all. He played great. He ran away with it.”
Thresher said he made an adjustment to his grip when he putted and it seemed to pay off.
“I moved my index finger down the putter grip,” he explained.
Thresher caught a break on the fourth hole when he hooked his drive into the deep grass along the left side of the fairway.
He subsequently hit a provisional drive but Steven Burak, who was playing in the group with Thresher and Swift, found Thresher’s original ball to save Thresher from taking a one-shot penalty. Thresher chopped it out nicely to within a foot of the green and wound up two-putting to salvage a par.
“That was a big turning point, too. If nobody had found his ball, he was looking at a double bogey,” said Swift.
“It wasn’t too bad of a lie. I just had to hack it out. I aimed left and hope it landed somewhere,” said Thresher.
Swift birdied that fourth hole to pull within one and both birdied the fifth.
But Swift three-putted the sixth and seventh holes for bogies while Thresher parred both to extend his lead to three and he followed that with two superb approach shots resulting in birdies on eight and nine that stretched the lead to five shots.
“I use my sand wedge on a lot of my close approach shots and that’s what I used on eight and nine,” said Thresher who sank birdie putts of six and three feet, respectively.
Thresher eventually built the lead to seven before Swift posted consecutive birdies on 15, 16 and 17 to close within four.
“My putter went cold from the sixth hole to almost the 14th hole. Then I started making a couple birdies coming in,” said the 25-year-old Swift, who played golf at Marquette University in Milwaukee.
Swift was overall pleased with his day.
“I shot three-under and the conditions were tougher. The wind was up. It just came down to putting. You need a hot putter to win it and Jason had it,” said Swift.
Thresher said it felt “fantastic” to win it.
“The only other tournament I’ve ever won is the Massachusetts Open. It’s nice to win another tournament,” he said.