Bruce Tomie of the University of Victoria blasts from a soggy sand trap during a practice round at Morningstar Golf Club in Parksville Saturday. Tomie will be among 156 golfers playing this week in the Golf Canada University/College National Championships

Bruce Tomie of the University of Victoria blasts from a soggy sand trap during a practice round at Morningstar Golf Club in Parksville Saturday. Tomie will be among 156 golfers playing this week in the Golf Canada University/College National Championships

University golfers tee it up

Host University of Victoria sets sights on national title as tournament kicks off this week at Parksville's Morningstar Golf Club

He may play for the host school, but University of Victoria golfer Bruce Tomie may be a candidate for the farthest travel award in this week’s Golf Canada University/College National Championships at Morningstar Golf Club in Parksville.

Since classes ended, Tomie has been back home in Nova Scotia, working and practicing his golf game before getting the call to join the Vikings as the fifth member of its men’s team in the nationals.

“I just got in from Halifax,” he said before playing a practice round in the rain at Morningstar Saturday with the four-member UVic women’s team. “I’ve been practising in crappy weather like this, so I should be good to go.”

The weather is expected to be much warmer and drier this week for the four-day, 72-hole tourney, which teed off this morning for the 20 men’s and 12 women’s teams that qualified.

Play continues each day through Friday, with the field to be cut following Thursday’s third round and closing ceremonies and awards scheduled for 3 p.m. Friday.

Both University of Victoria teams are expected to be among the favourites, despite “hosting” the tournament a couple hours drive from home.

“This is only the second time I’ve played here,” senior Michaela Abey said of Saturday’s practice round. “Because we’re in Victoria, it’s kind of a long way to travel. That should make it pretty even for all the teams here.”

The national championships serve as the Canadian qualifier for the 2017 World University Championships in China, and the UVic women are treating it as a culmination of everything they’ve worked for throughout the season.

“At the beginning of the year we set out a series of goals, and this is the biggest,” said Abey. “We feel very good about it.”

“I think the stars are lining up for us,” teammate Laura Ferreira added.

The Camosun College men’s team, coached by Morningstar-based golf academy pro John Randle, is hoping to catch a shooting star after winning the 2015 Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) National Men’s Golf Championships last fall.

“I have a great feeling about our ability to compete with the bigger schools,” said Randle. “Obviously, they have much bigger budgets for recruiting and travel, but I’m excited to see how the Chargers react to being the underdog.”

Spectators are invited to watch at no cost.

Above, University of Victoria senior Michaela Abey chips to the fourth green during a practice round at Morningstar Golf Club in Parksville Saturday. — Image credit: J.R. Rardon/PQB NEWS