Maine Amateur champion Caleb Manuel
For the second straight year, Caleb Manuel arrived at the Maine Amateur Championship with a target on his back as the defending champion. It’s always difficult to defend a title in any sport, but the 21-year old from Topsham was able to do it again at this year’s event at the Samoset Resort in Rockport.
And Manuel didn't just win, he did so in dominant fashion by shooting a tournament record score of 13-under over three days for his third straight Maine Amateur title.
After opening rounds of 67 and 68, Manuel stood two shots clear of Tyler Baker entering the final round. After parring the first three holes on Thursday, Manuel got things going with a long eagle putt on the signature 4th hole with the Rockland Harbor breakwater in the distance and never looked back.
Adding four more birdies on the back nine, including one more for good measure in front of an appreciative crowd on 18, Manuel fired a closing 65. His three-round total of 67-68-65—200 (13-under) is the lowest score in tournament history and was good enough for a massive 11 stroke margin of victory.
With the win, he joins a rarefied group of Maine golfers who have won the event three consecutive times. Mark Plummer accomplished the feat twice over his decades-long span of winning 13 Maine Amateur titles. Dick Diversi is the other player to have achieved the three-peat, doing even better and winning five straight titles from 1953-1957.
Manuel transferred from University of Connecticut to Georgia, going from being a Husky to a Bulldog. Based on his trajectory in the game, we're guessing he won't stay amateur long enough to approach Plummer's record of 13 state amateur titles, but this year's low total record might stand for a while...
This was the first time Maine Golf has hosted the Amateur at the Samoset Resort in the 104 year history of this championship.
Players were treated to some of the nicest summer weather over the week at one of the most picturesque courses in Maine, which has multiple holes that offer sweeping views of the Atlantic Ocean.
The course proved tough for the field on the week, as only three players finished under par over 54 holes.
Ron Kelton, the 2022 Mid-Amateur champion and third-place finisher in last year’s Amateur, ended this year’s event in solo second with rounds of 68-71-72—211 (2-under). Tyler Baker finished one back at -1 in third place. The top five were Bennett Berg and Eli Spaulding, who finished the week at even par.
In addition to the overall title for the event, Maine Golf recognized the low junior and low senior finishers at the award ceremony, a new addition to the tournament this year. Spaulding was named as the low junior, while Ralph Michaud of Presque Isle took home low senior honors.
In all, 44 players advanced to this year’s final round, with the cut falling at 149 (+7) after 36 holes. All players who made the cut will be exempt into next year’s Maine Amateur Championship, which will be played next July at Purpoodock Club in Cape Elizabeth.
ABOUT THE Maine Amateur
The Maine Amateur Championship is a 54-hole stroke
play event. After the first two rounds,
the field of 132 players is cut to the top 40 and ties
who advance to the final round. Players
must be members in good standing
an MSGA member club.
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