Alex Robert, who played hockey and golf at Lewiston High School, is competing in the Maine Junior Amateur championship at Brunswick Golf Club this week. (Sun Journal file photo)

For most of the competitors, this week’s Maine Junior Amateur is a prelude to the the upcoming high school golf season that begins at the end of August and concludes with the individual state championships in the middle of October.

For Alex Robert, that won’t be the case. The Lewiston native is heading off to Deerfield Academy in Deerfield, Massachusetts, where he will repeat his junior year — a common practice for student who transfer to prep schools — and will be a part of the Big Green’s golf and hockey teams.

The Junior Amateur, which will be held Tuesday and Wednesday at the Brunswick Golf Club, will be Robert’s first time competing in the Maine State Golf Association’s crown jewel for junior golfers. He wanted one more crack at some of the golfers he has been competing against the past couple of seasons in high school tournaments.

“I am leaving home in September, so I was kind of on the edge whether I should sign up for it or not,” Robert said. “Just because of hockey and everything that I am starting up now. I thought about it, and since I am leaving, I thought it would be great to play before I leave. I will be playing with some of my buddies that I have been playing with throughout junior golf. It’s going to be fun; it’s pretty much my last time being able to play in it before I age out, I think.”

This summer, Robert has been playing with Martindale members and coworkers Brendon Croteau and Evan Glicos, whose father Nick is the club’s head pro. They like to play before or after their shifts at Martindale.

While he didn’t seek advice from Croteau, who just competed in the Maine Amateur earlier this month, Robert said that Croteau just told him to go out be confident and play against par.

Glicos also is playing in the Junior Amateur, which is extra special for Robert because the Glicos family helped introduce him to the sport.

“Evan, he’s the first guy I started playing golf with,” Robert said. “His dad kind of took us out to Martindale when we were younger, actually Caleb Manuel as well. Us three played a lot when we were younger. By the time high school came, we all just played for our high school teams. Us three, we still talk and there’s a lot of great golfers in Maine, especially for our age group. The game is evolving a lot.”

Glicos goes to Windham High School. Manuel, who had a nice showing at the Maine Amateur earlier this month, is from Topsham and attends Mt. Ararat High School. 

Unlike those two, who often compete in the MSGA’s weekly junior tournaments across the state, Robert hasn’t had that opportunity often because his schedule didn’t match up well with the tournament dates.

“I haven’t been playing in any tournaments (in the past month),” Robert said. “I was scheduled for The Woodlands (tournament), but that was actually rained out. I wasn’t available as I had hockey on the day it was rescheduled on. So I wasn’t able to play in that one, which I was pretty upset with.”

Robert also missed the MSGA’s tour stop at Martindale because he again had another hockey commitment on that day.

Luck wasn’t on Robert’s side in one tournament he did compete in this summer, the junior tour’s opening event at Belgrade Lakes in late June. He carded an 80 to finish 13th.

“I was actually playing really well until the 11th hole,” Robert said. “There was a mishap where someone picked up my ball behind the green, and I had to go back and play another shot. I ended up with a nine on that hole. That hole alone put me at plus-5. If I could have snuck out of that hole with a bogey or even a double, (my score) would have been a lot lower.”

He has shaken off that round and said he’s been playing solid golf when he has gotten a chance to play recently. The past two times he has played he shot a 74 and a 75.

Those results have been the result of getting comfortable playing with other people.

“I think I am just a lot more confident, especially off the tee box,” Robert said. “Last year, I wasn’t as confident as I am now. I think that just with playing more and playing with my friends more often then I did last year. Last year, there weren’t many members at Martindale that were my age that I could go out and play with … I think just playing with other people a lot more gives you that extra confidence. It helps me, anyway, feel a lot better on the course.”

This weekend Robert had another hockey tournament in Massachusetts, but he hopes to sneak a few holes in before the Junior Amateur begins Tuesday.

“I will try to get out maybe for a few holes before it gets dark out, when I get home from hockey,” Robert said. “At least I will practice chipping and putting, or something like that.”

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