Caleb Manuel of Topsham, shown during the 2019 Maine Junior Golf Championship, shot a course-record 59 Tuesday at Brunswick Golf Club. Derek Davis/Staff Photographer

Caleb Manuel has set lofty goals for himself as he’s started an impressive golf career.

He just didn’t expect one of them to be checked off Tuesday morning.

Manuel, who graduated from Mt. Ararat this spring and will play at the University of Connecticut, shot an astounding 59 at Brunswick Golf Club, shattering the course record — that he had tied — by seven strokes.

“It still hasn’t really set in,” said Manuel, who had 12 birdies and one eagle while playing with three others. “That’s probably the best accomplishment I could have this year so far, because there aren’t a lot of tournaments to be playing in. … I was writing down goals at the beginning of the year, and 59 was one of them. It feels good.”

Brunswick’s director of golf, A.J. Kavanaugh, has seen Manuel rip up the course before, but never the way he did Tuesday.

“He’s just on a different planet,” he said. “Phil Mickelson has the record at Cape Arundel (Golf Club) at 60 or 61. That’s the type of company he’s in now.”


Manuel has gone low before — he shot a 60 from the white tees last summer — but he had never done it to this degree from the tips. But after bogeying the sixth hole, bringing him to 2 under, he ripped off nine straight birdies, and then chipped in for eagle on the 15th.

Now history was within reach.

“I kind of realized (after the birdie putt on 12) ‘I’m not going for the blue (tees) course record anymore, I’m going for my own record,'” said Manuel, the Varsity Maine boys’ golfer of the year in 2019 and 2018. “The hole definitely did feel pretty big there. I was making some putts.”

Manuel shot 27 on the back nine. He made sure not to play it safe.

“When I get to a certain point, (I think) don’t be scared to make a bogey,” said Manuel, who tapped in for par to finish at 59. “Take it as a challenge, not a threat. Keep going for it and try to go as low as you can. There’s no real boundary how low you can go in golf. You set your own boundaries. Today, I didn’t really have one.”

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