Vermillion golf pro developing knack for aces

All golfers dream of the moment when after the perfect drive, they see their ball disappear into the hole on the first shot.

Rusty Jensen has had five of those moments.

Jensen, the assistant PGA golf pro at The Bluffs Golf Course in Vermillion, sank his fifth career hole-in-one Thursday, March 25.

Jensen's shot came on the 12th hole, which is par 3 at 158 yards, with a seven iron.

"We just watched it go in," Jensen said. "We were just surprised because you never expect it to go in."

Jensen's group of golfers consisted of former South Dakota women's basketball coach Chad Lavin, Roger Heirigs, Mark Clark and Tim "Coach" Christopherson.

Lavin said he thought it was good shot from the beginning.

"Looked like it was going in the whole way; I am a lot better at seeing them than hitting them," he said. "I don't remember what was said, I just knew everything would be free afterwards."

The tradition after a hole-in-one is the golfer who hits it has to pay for the round and a round of drinks, which is what excited Lavin.

For "Coach", the shot meant he had to pick up his game.

"He was my partner, so it put some pressure on me to win the hole," Christopherson said with a smile. "I was at the flag, and I started yelling for it to go in right when he hit it."

After Jensen's shot, Heirigs just said one simple thing.

"Good shot was what I said," he said. "He also almost chipped in a couple good shots as well."

Not only did Jensen hit his fifth hole-in-one, but he now has more than Lavin, "Coach" and Heirigs combined.

Both Lavin and "Coach" have one hole-in-one and Heirigs has two.

But for Jensen, it's his first hole-in-one at The Bluffs.

Jensen, who is now 41, hit all of his hole-in-ones at the old course, and all by the time he was 21.

"I used to play a lot as a kid, and had most of them early on," Jensen said. "I was an avid golfer in high school."

Two of Jensen's hole-in-ones were hit on hole six on the old course and he also had one on the fourth and eighth hole.

Jensen said The Bluffs is a tougher course than the old one, and he doesn't play much.

"As a kid, I could play every day, but now I golf about once a week," he said.

Jensen does have bragging rights over his boss, Kirk Hogan, the PGA pro at The Bluffs, who doesn't have a hole-in-one.

But Jensen said he never brings that up.

"Kirk gave me a hard time that day, but I get to play a lot more golf because he works a lot harder than I do," Jensen said with a smile.

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