When Lisa Jensen was growing up in Maine, she had no intention of becoming a golf professional. Her sports were soccer and softball,  which she played at Windham High School and the University of Southern Maine.

As a collegian she excelled as a softball pitcher and on defense in soccer. In her junior year at USM she pitched a no-hitter, three shutouts and had a 14-4 record with a 1.38 earned run average. Her career USM mark was 30-17 with a 1.49 ERA.

Bill Kennedy, Golf Columnist

It was not until after college that she became serious about golf,  first as an amateur in Maine, where she was a women’s club champ at Gorham and Falmouth. She captured Southern Maine women’s championships in 1989, 1990 and 1991, plus the Women’s Maine State Golf Association title in 1991, along with a mixed state title in 1991 at Martindale with Ron Brown Jr.  Jensen was inducted into USM Hall of Fame in 1999 and the Maine Golf Hall of Fame in 2004.

She turned pro, competing on the European Tour 1992-98.  She joined the Futures Tour,  which feeds the LPGA Tour in 1998 and finished No. 79 on its money list that year.  Her biggest purse as a pro was the $6,600 she won at a Futures Tour event in Decatur, Ill, in 1999 (JWEA Anheuser Busch Classic), the year she also won the Central Florida Challenge

Early in the 21st century, when the opportunity to become an assistant pro at a club presented itself,  Jensen was ready, and in that profession she has risen to manager/head pro at the Rutgers University Golf Course in Piscataway,  N.J.  That is a position she has held since 2014.

The weather in New Jersey this spring has been more conducive than Maine to playing golf, but like most club professionals, Jensen is focused on golf course activities, not personal play.

“People will not believe what I do,”  she said, reflecting on times when she has had to fill in as a ranger, greeter, first-aider, maintenance crew worker, and occasionally as en enforcer in emergency situations.

But then there are special programs of which she is the primary promoter.

“There is a big push to get more students to play golf,”  she said,  “but transportation is the problem.”

Rutgers, with 57,000 students, has buildings in four Middlesex County municipalities,  so the golf course mostly is accessible by car, making transportation an issue. She is at the base of a program created last year to encourage students to use the course. That is scheduled to become a big university program next year, Jensen said.

Other programs at the Rutgers course involve students with autism, and veterans who are either undergraduates or taking graduate courses. “This is a great sport to introduce them to,”  she said.

It should be noted that as the New Jersey state university’s facility, the Rutgers course is open to the public and greens fees are priced as the most economical for any golf course in the Garden State.  Because of its financial advantages, the license plates of players from three states — New York, Pennsylvania and New Jersey — are commonly seen in the parking lot. Summed up:  There is a great deal of golf traffic there because greens fees are very reasonable.

Jensen was asked about competing in pro events, to which she responded: “I don’t have time.” The last time she was in a tournament for professionals was in a pro-assistant event in 2004, with she and her partner finishing in a seven-way tie for first.

Still, she enjoys watching the LPGA Tour players. This weekend, she was in attendance at the ShopRite LPGA Classic held in Galloway, N.J., at the Stockton Seaview Hotel & Golf Club,  where she took in the action with a half dozen friends — all from her days at USM.

Which goes to show that you can take the golf lady out of Maine, but you cannot take the Maine golf out of the lady.

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In a June 5 Senior Tour event at Waterville, Rudy Plummer of Summit Springs tied for third in individual net 64-69 by shooting a 67.

In team net, Bert Roberge of Fairlawn was part of group which won with a 56, as he played with George Roberge, Richard Lane and Paul Carpentier. Closest to the pin winners included George Roberge on the 16th hole, with his tee shot marked at one foot. But did he make the putt?

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The Maine State Golf Association schedule this week includes the mixed championship today at Fairlawn along with a Senior Tour event June 11 at Poland Spring and a Maine Amateur qualifier June 13 at Biddeford-Saco. The Weekend Tour will be June 14 and 15 at Lake Kezar. The women are playing June 11 at Bridgton Highlands and Northport in their regular weekly events. Also today at Belgrade Lakes there will be a US Kids Golf Local Tour event.

The MSGA Junior Tour season begins with a June 18 event at Rockland and a June 20 tournament at Biddeford-Saco.

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.


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