Caleb Manuel, a Mt. Ararat High School graduate, has been the top golfer for the University of Connecticut this season. Manuel was the co-champion at the Big East Conference Championship last month. Contributed photo/UConn Athletics

Caleb Manuel likes to set goals. Reaching them is even more fun.

Manuel, a University of Connecticut sophomore, recently won the Big East Conference co-championship in Pine Mountain, Georgia. He became the first UConn golfer to earn medalist honors at the conference championship since Brian Ahern in 1994.

“I was definitely excited after I found out I won,” said Manuel, a 2020 Mt. Ararat High School graduate. “It was a good feeling, just because I’ve been working hard and that’s been a big goal at the beginning of the season.”

Manuel shot an 11-under 205 to share the three-round Big East championship honors with Gregor Tait of Seton Hall. The Huskies finished third overall.

“I wasn’t playing great leading up to (the Big East tournament),” added Manuel, a two-time Maine high school individual champion. “So it was great to get my game back, get the confidence back. Going out there, doing it and playing at that level is a relief. It felt good.”

Manuel qualified for an NCAA Regional next week at the Yale Golf Course in New Haven, Connecticut. It’ll be his first tournament on the course.


“They’ll let us play a (practice round) on Sunday,” he said. “I heard it’s a good course. There’s some tricky shots here and there, but I think (the layout) is pretty much right in front of you. Hopefully I can play well there.”

Manuel finished second (shooting a 74) at a local U.S. Open qualifier on Monday in Oxford, Connecticut. He’ll get the chance to participate in a final qualifying round on June 6 for the right to play at the U.S. Open — one of the PGA Tour’s biggest events — which The Country Club in Brookline, Massachusetts will host from June 16-19.

Manuel isn’t the only Maine golfer experiencing some success at the collegiate level.

Cole Anderson, a Camden Hills graduate and redshirt sophomore at Florida State University, will compete in an NCAA Regional in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida next week. The Seminoles qualified to participate as a team after finishing third at the Atlantic Coast Conference Championship in Panama City Beach, Florida on April 24. It’s the 16th consecutive trip to the NCAA postseason for the Seminoles.

“I think it just speaks to the program as a whole,” Anderson said. “It starts with the coaches’ ability to evaluate kids. The rules have changed a little (since first being recruited), but my first conversations with Florida State was when I was 15. Their ability to bring in the right players, evaluate talent the right way and just the way we go about the season. It’s not an accident that they consistently find a way to create solid programs and perform when needed. You can see that with this being our 16th straight (trip).”

University of Connecticut golfer Caleb Manuel, right, holds the Big East Conference Championship trophy with Gregor Tait of Seton Hall. Manuel is the first medalist for the Huskies at the event since 1994. Contributed photo/UConn Athletics

Anderson has been steady for Florida State this season, with a 73.05 round average over seven tournaments. His best outing came at the All American Intercollegiate tournament last month in Humble, Texas. Anderson finished tied for third overall, shooting a 2-under 142, with the Seminoles winning the team title.


“I’ve feel like I’ve played well in spots,” Anderson said. “I’ve had a couple of hiccups, but it’s sort of to be expected. I think we’re all just kind of focused on fine-tuning the little details that you need to fine-tune going into the postseason. At this point in the season, anything can happen. You just sort of let it go. You do as much preparation as you can and just get after it.”

Like Anderson, Manuel said he’s played well at different points throughout the season.

Manuel — the reigning Maine Amateur champion — posted a 71.09  round average and eight top-10 finishes this season. He won the UConn Invitational in October. He finished 61st at the Craft Farms Intercollegiate in Gulf Shores, Alabama in March, followed by a 51st place finish at The Rutherford in State College, Pennsylvania last month.

Manuel credited his swing coach, Paul Piveronas of the Woodlands Club in Falmouth, with helping him get back on track before the conference tournament.

Success has been building for Manuel.

As a true freshman last year, he earned First-Team All-Big East honors and was also selected at the Big East Freshman of the Year, while leading the Huskies in per round scoring average (72.5). Manuel was also a PING Division I All-Northeast Regional selection.


“It was pretty smooth for me,” Manuel said. “We didn’t play the fall of my freshman year, just because of COVID. But we played in the spring. Golf-wise, it’s a big leap because high school golf in Maine is a lot different than the top level in college. But I played a lot of summer events and amateur events in the summer (to get ready), so it wasn’t that big a difference playing with people.

“The big difference my freshman year was finding out if I belonged, playing in my first couple of tournaments,. Once I got that out of the way and realized I’m just as good as these guys and I can beat these guys week in and week out, it just kind of gave me confidence.”

While Manuel has helped elevate UConn into a Big East contender, Anderson has helped FSU do the same in the ACC.

The Seminoles finished sixth at the NCAA Division I Championships in Scottsdale, Arizona last season but then struggled a bit in the fall.

Cole Anderson, a Camden Hills Regional High School graduate, is enjoying a strong season at Florida State University, helping the Seminoles to their 16th consecutive NCAA postseason berth. Contributed photo/Florida State Athletics

“Last year, we spent most of the year ranked No. 1 in the country,” Anderson said. “This year, at the end of the fall, we didn’t play as well as we wanted to. I think we started the spring ranked 53rd or something. I think we’re now up to 17th or 18th. We just sort of played the whole spring with a chip on our shoulder than previous teams. It was going from everybody expecting you to be the team to beat. Now, we’re not necessarily the underdog, but it’s a different dynamic where I think there’s a little more passion (among the team) to prove people wrong that have you ranked in a position that you don’t really feel evaluates your team. It’s been pretty cool to be a part of that.”

Manuel and Anderson said they plan to compete in some events in Maine this summer.


“I’ll play in the Maine Am this summer,” said Manuel, who won last year’s event by one shot over Will Kannegieser at the Kebo Valley Golf Club in Bar Harbor. “I’ll be up there in the summer.”


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Dates are already set for some of Maine’s biggest golf tournaments of the summer.

The Maine Event will be played June 27th at the Augusta Country Club. Two weeks later, the Maine Amateur will be played at the Webhannet Golf in Kennebunk.

In late July, the Dutch Elm Golf Club in Arundel will be the host to the Maine Junior Championship (July 26-27).

The Falmouth Country Club will serve as the host site of the Match Play Invitational August 1-3. The men’s season will wrap up with the Senior Amateur Championship August 23-24 at the Purpoodock Club in Cape Elizabeth.

The Maine Women’s Amateur is July 19-21 at the Portland Country Club, while the Senior Women’s Amateur Championship is September 13-14 at Riverside Golf Course in Portland.

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