RALEIGH — Those who knew Vance Heafner best want to remember him as a man with an easy smile who loved his family and loved playing golf.
Heafner, who died Wednesday at 58, had some serious health issues.
“But the Vance I’ll always think of was a good person, who as a young golfer had to compete very hard to be a good player and went on to have a good, outstanding career,” Roger Watson, a member of the N.C. Sports Hall of Fame, said Thursday.
Watson was a golf professional at MacGregor Downs Country Club in Cary when Heafner played as a teenager against Scott Hoch, Wes Minton, Tom Reynolds and other juniors. Hoch, Minton and Reynolds each won state medalist honors for Broughton High, but Heafner was more the late bloomer.
“Vance was always very competitive, a very good player and a good guy, too,” Hoch said Thursday. “When you grow up like we did, playing against each other at MacGregor, you get to know a lot about a guy. Vance always had a good way about him.”