Jefferson Hagen, MacEwan Athletics
VICTORIA – Newcomer James Robillard offered a glimpse of what he can provide to the MacEwan Griffins golf team going forward during their annual March west coast tournament over the weekend.
Despite dealing with minimal practice opportunities in the frozen tundra that is Edmonton, the St. Albert product – who recently transferred to MacEwan from the University of West Georgia – posted rounds of 77 and 74 on Victoria's Highland Pacific Golf Club during the Camosun College Invitational.
His overall score of 151 was tied for sixth-best amongst competitors at the tourney, which featured a tough field, including Canadian Colleges Athletic Association bronze medalist University of Fraser Valley, the University of Victoria, Camosun and Vancouver Island University.
"UFV, they're No. 1 in the country right now, UVic is always strong and so are Camosun and VIU," said MacEwan head coach Jodi Campbell. "We knew going out there, the competition was going to be really high, so we did the best we could in preparation knowing that we hadn't played for four months."
Robillard topped MacEwan's efforts at the event, six strokes shy of UFV's Daniel Campbell and Victoria's Brandon McManus, who tied for top spot with 145.
"He has a wealth of knowledge," said Campbell of Robillard. "He spent last season at the University of West Georgia. He's back home – he's a St. Albert boy. So, we brought him out to this tournament to fill a gap in our men's team that we had with some graduated athletes.
"He didn't disappoint. He came out and had a really, really solid weekend. Really consistent ball striker, has a really solid short game. For being a new addition to the team, it felt like he's been there all year. He fit into the guy's team really well. I could see him being one of our leaders next year for sure."
Connor Ackroyd finished tied for 14th (81-78), while Noah Lubberding (78-82) and Jarrett Bossert (79-81) tied for 16th. Jack Nessel (77-85, 19th) and Justin Berget (84-85, 21st) rounded out the men's results for the Griffins.
"This tournament, we do our best to get everybody back into golf mode and it takes a couple of rounds to get your short game back and get your feel back," said Campbell. "So, there's a lot of work that we do to manage expectations as we're going into the event.
"As much as we're competing against a bunch of teams who play throughout the winter and haven't stopped playing, the guys did really well to still compete hard."
"On the women's side, we're definitely in a rebuilding year right now," said Campbell. "We lost Hailey Turcotte over the winter, so we're basically down to Jordan and Skyler. But we saw some good development with those two. We're seeing some good things from them.
"My task is still to find a couple women to play alongside them for next fall."