GORHAM – Filming will be discussed in Maine for decades. Caleb Manuel will never forget it.
On Wednesday his double eagle in the 18th hole wins the Maine State Golf Association Junior Championship.
Linked with Armand Ouellette who entered the last hole, Manuel was just in the right about 193 yards to the hole on par-5 18 at the Gorham Country Club. Ouellette was already on the green in two strokes for a good chance for the eagle. Manuel’s 6-iron came out high and true with a tie from right to left, bounced once to get on the green and then rolled like a putt 10 feet straight into the hole. Three under a hole, also known as an albatross.
The shot was pure all the way. Playing the partner Chad Carron, Manuel sul Monte’s former teammate. Ararat High, said “come in.” When he did, the usual stoic Manuel jumped into the air and his chest hit Carron, then hugged his close friends and his father, Patrick Manuel.
“That was probably the biggest race I have had playing golf and probably the biggest race I will ever have until I maybe do something bigger in future years but – an albatross to win one? It’s something you don’t see every day, “said Manuel.
Manuel finished the tournament at 9 under, with 67 and 66 rounds. This set a junior amateur record for the lowest overall score and tied Austen Truslow’s peer relationship record set in 2012. Truslow, who spent the summer in Maine with her grandparents but was from Florida, is now at Korn Ferry Tour of the PGA.
It has been quite a summer for Manuel, an 18 year old resident of Topsham and 2020 Mt. Ararat High grade. He broke a Brunswick Golf Club golf course record with a 59 in May. Last week he finished third in the New England Amateur. And in a couple of weeks the two-time Varsity Maine golfer of the year will go to the University of Connecticut on a golf scholarship.
Ouellette, 18, from Saco and a 2020 graduate of the Thornton Academy, had put pressure on Manuel with a lasered hybrid of about 250 feet that reached the 18th green. Ouellette would have ended up making her eagle putt, ending up at 8 below (66-68-134).
“I was thinking that I would have at least one shot to try and win it,” said Ouellette. “What Caleb has done has been incredible. It was the most beautiful shot I’ve ever seen, especially in those circumstances. “
“Cade said, ‘OK, you know what you need to do.’ It didn’t take long, I lined it up, got up and swung it and it was all (the flag) all the time and then it just disappeared. That was one of the purest hits I hit of the day, “said Manuel.
Starting the day with a one-stroke lead, Ouellette got his lead by two strokes with a bird in the sixth hole, but he never shook Manuel. The players were tied to 7 below after Manuel killed the 15th par-3. But Manuel scored three times for the second time in the round of 16, and Ouellette was watching birdie putt on the 17th to take a two-shot lead.
Ouellette’s putt birdie came in a circle, then made his short par putt as well. Instead of being two shots forward, Ouellette had found himself tied up again, opening the door for the dramatic finale.
Bennet Berg (75-68) and Nick McGonagle (71-72), both from Portland, and Tom Higgins (72-71) from South Portland drew third with 143 totals. Charron (70-74-144) finished sixth in 2nd place.
In the women’s division, Waterville’s 17-year-old Lindsay Cote started the day with a five-stroke lead over 2020 Maine Women’s Amateur champion Ruby Haylock, 15, from Hartford and won her first junior championship with a 72- 77– two days 149 in total, winning by four hits.
“I didn’t get much sleep last night. I was very nervous and knew that Ruby (Haylock) would come out today and sound very loud and she did it, she beat me for one, “said Cote.
But it was Cote who got off to a better start, with the birds in his first two holes to extend the lead over Haylock to eight shots, giving her enough cushion to resist a few fights on the back nine. Haylock finished second with a total of 77-76–153.
“Getting off to a good start gave me the impetus to continue fighting, even though I haven’t played as well on the back, I only knew that I had to keep doing what I had done in the past two days and knowing that it would be fine,” said Cote.
Remy Levin of Standish finished third at 80-79–159.
Also on Wednesday, Charlie Sands, 9, of Gorham made a hole in the first 13th hole par 3 of 113 yards. Sands was competing in the 11-hole part of the tournament.
Other winners of the age group were: Eli Spaulding of Freeport (boys 14-15), Joe Hansen of Cumberland (boys 12-13), Ruth Weeks of Cumberland (girls 14-15), Drew Mertzel of Winthrop (boys’ 11 -under) and McKenna Castle (13-under for girls).
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