Stephanie Rodrigue of Lewiston has been named recipient of the 2019 Maine State Golf Association’s Helen Plourd Award, which will provide her with a cash stipend for each of the three years remaining at the University of Mount Olive (North Carolina), where she was a member of the women’s golf team during the past school year.

While growing up in Lewiston, Rodrigue was one of Maine’s most decorated girls golfers, but she thinks that attending college in North Carolina is the start of major steps in her adult life.

Bill Kennedy, Golf Columnist

“The year in college was fun and an eye-opener” she said. “Year-round golf was hard on my body.”

Never, before attending college in North Carolina, did Rodrigue play golf daily during the winter months, but she came to enjoy it. Now that she is at home in Maine, she admitted to being a weather-spoiled Carolinian, stating, “It’s been too dang cold to practice and play golf.”

She was enthusiastic in reporting that her overall collegiate experience amounted to one great year, as she was on a golf team with three players from Sweden, one of whom (Linn Andersson) has become her best college friend. She praised her Mt. Olive coach, Chip Spiron, who has gotten her to focus on the mental part of golf.

More importantly, the business management major has focused on the academic part of college life, having posted first and second semester GPAs of 3.5 and 3.9, respectively, which has helped her to earn a couple of Mt. Olive academic scholarships.

Rodrigue expects to play in MSGA women’s events and to continue in a newly-created junior division for collegians between the ages of 18 and 21. So, she will have an active summer season of golf.

The remainder of the 2019 MSGA Scholars include: Libby Boone of Presque Isle High School, the recipient of the Rock Labbe award; Cade Charon of Mt. Ararat High School; Trevor Flanagan of Monmouth Academy, winner of the Davis Richardson award; Thomas Higgins of Cheverus High School, as the recipient of the New England Senior Golfers Association award; Richard Joyce III of Cheverus High, who won the Andy Lano award; and Austin Legge of Cape Elizabeth High School, the Winchenbach award recipient.

Rachel Smith of Greely High School and Max Woodman of Mattanawcook Academy are Frank Langlois Scholarship recipients.

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Normally at this time of the year, a golf column is written about the Poland Spring Fenn-Ross Heritage Classic, a tournament held at Poland Spring with proceeds going to the Poland Spring Historical Society. One of the reasons for this is to increase the number of teams competing in this scramble, which was held for the first time in 2006.

Reports from last week are that the event to be played June 5 is sold out with 36 teams in the field. Congratulations to tournament chairman Jim Delamater, Poland Spring Resort owner Cyndi Robbins, and to Poland Spring golf processional John King.

Apparently the word has gotten out on what a fun tournament this event has become. Granted, Poland Spring’s links are part of the oldest resort golf course in the United States, and that it is the most historic golf site in the State of Maine.

But it goes beyond that, with several golf highlights during the day.

On the first hole, players in this scramble format will be using wooden shaft drivers and their tee pins will be small hills of sand, which is a throwback to what golf was like in the early 1900s. On the par-3 sixth, wooden shaft irons will be used to hit the ball over a small pond to the green.

Some of the players will be in throwback attire, sporting knickers, long-sleeved collarless shirts and even ties.

There are prizes and giveaways galore, because the tournament has three significant sponsors, all from Maine. The Poland Spring Resort, naturally, is a sponsor. Joining it is the Poland Spring Water Co. and the Oxford Casino.

This adds up to a guaranteed day of enjoyable.

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Many area golf courses were hit hard by the heavy snow and the length of the winter of 2018-19. Greens on some courses took a beating. Players are encouraged to be patient with golf course work crews, which are attempting to restore greens and fairways to normal.

That has not come easily this spring because of the heavy amounts of rain which has fallen during the past two months.

Summer sunshine is on the way. We just do not know when it will arrive in Maine.

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Weather permitting, the MSGA has some events scheduled this week. Men’s weekly events are May 21 and June 1 at Webhannet, with a senior tournament May 29 at Brunswick. There are two women’s weekly events May 28 at Biddeford-Saco and Wawenock.

Bill Kennedy, a retired New Jersey golf writer and editor, now living on Thompson Lake in Otisfield, is in his seventh season as Sun Journal golf columnist.