Caleb Manuel blasts out of a bunker during the second round of the 101st Maine Amateur Championship on Wednesday at the Biddeford-Saco Country Club. Ben McCanna/Portland Press Herald photo Buy this Photo

At Brunswick Golf Club on Tuesday and Wednesday, faces were either glued to the greens or to their phones as live score updates from the Maine Amateur Championship flooded phones from the website or from people on location at Biddeford-Saco Country Club. 

Brunswick GC had members up and down the leaderboard, including Mt. Ararat graduates Caleb Manuel (2020) and Cade Charron (2019). Manuel trailed Charron by a stroke after Tuesday but made up the ground on Wednesday. By the end of the second round, Manuel was tied for second with six other golfers at -1, while Charron sat at +2, tied for 14th. 

“Obviously we are scoreboard watching Caleb and our members,” Brunswick GC director of golf AJ Kavanaugh said. “We are all paying attention and keeping it on their phone. I am sure we will have some members head down (Wednesday) and watch our members. A lot of talk about them has been happening and it’s been a big focus for sure.”

Kavanaugh said Brunswick GC had 14 members qualify for the tournament, including Mt. Ararat sophomore golfer Parker Bate. 

Cade Charron of Brunswick Golf Club tees off during the second round of the 101st Maine State Golf Association Amateur Championship on Wednesday at Biddeford-Saco Country Club. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer Buy this Photo

“It’s awesome,” Kavanaugh said. “We had a good number of members that qualified last year and I think Caleb finished tied for fifth but this year, to have two or four members make the cut it seems to be our members are getting stronger and stronger at the state level. We felt Caleb could challenge, and Cade as well, a very accomplished golfer now at Husson, he’s no slouch. He’s our lowest member after Day 1 so it’s very exciting to follow those guys. We are planning a group of us to see them tomorrow.”

Many of the members go through Mt. Ararat High School, back-to-back Class A state champions. 

“Back-to-back defending champions, there’s a level that you need to reach there and so they play golf all summer if you want to be competitive,” Kavanaugh said. “(Mt. Ararat golf coach Gerry Caron) doesn’t really have to worry about much, they’re here usually dawn to dusk. Whenever the greens open for the golf team they’ll be ready… The results are there, they’re committed to it. They put tons of time on the practice greens, they know that’s what players at the next level do and they have great inspiration in the graduates and upperclassmen.”

Added Caron: “Our kids, they are either playing in tournaments or playing at the course. I know all my kids are playing because I see them playing. They know what’s expected of them if they want to compete and get better and continue what we’ve done over the last few years.”

Kavanaugh also has seen the Brunswick High School program continue to grow. 

“Brunswick has some young kids coming and just seeing the neighboring programs and at Brunswick GC, if they aren’t there yet then these freshmen and eighth graders, Brunswick will have a great team coming up,” Kavanaugh said. “It’s almost like a farm system. Since we host both teams we root for both of them, one being a dynasty and one coming up.”

Junior golfers are brought through the system at Brunswick GC in part because of Kavanaugh’s experience as a junior golfer. He’s seen first-hand the experience junior golfers can get, so from a young age golfers are taught the ways of the game.

“I grew up as a junior golfer here and so we try to welcome all the junior golfers,” Kavanaugh said. “They do a good job of etiquette and are very respectful. It started with Cade and Caleb when they were 9 and 10 and now we have a new group. We are very proud of the junior program and probably the most junior members we have had the last two years, it’s very exciting.”

 

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Brunswick GC will host the Amputee Association of Maine Golf Scramble on July 13, before it hosts the Gorham Savings Bank Maine Amputee Open on July 14-15. 

The fifth annual event will be a 36-hole stroke play event with tee times for golfers to help aid social distancing parameters and keep golfers safe. 

“The Amputee Open has gotten a lot of publicity at the state level,” Kavanaugh said. “John Lemieux has organized it the last few years. He grew up in this area and loves the course and asked for us to host it last year. It was held at Falmouth Country Club last year. It’s a field mixed of able-bodied and also disabled golfers and everyone takes it very seriously. It’s the first time we have hosted something like that and we are looking forward to it, it will be very cool.”

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