Caleb Manuel of Brunswick Golf Club chips out of a sand trap on the 11th hole. Manuel finished fourth overall. Manuel recently finished third at the New England Amateur Championship. Shawn Patrick Ouellette / Port;and Press Herald photo

Caleb Manuel expected to play 36 holes on the final day of the 91st New England Amateur Championship last Thursday in Concord, Massachusetts.

Instead, inclement weather shortened the tournament to just 18 holes last Thursday at Concord Country Club, leaving the Mt. Ararat graduate fewer opportunities to make up ground on the leaders.

Still, it was a successful three days for Manuel, who finished third overall at 2-under par.

“At the beginning of the day (Thursday)  I was trying to play patient,” Manuel said. “I was hoping at six holes out I maybe felt more willing to push for birdies and try to catch up. I had to go birdie, hole in one, but I pared so I missed the playoff by two shots. If I had been told at the beginning of the week I would finish third I would have taken it but I was hoping for more.”

John Broderick, of Dedham, Massachusetts, won the tournament in a playoff over Nick Maccario, of Bradford, Massachusetts.

Trailing by two shots heading into Thursday, Manuel — who plays out of Brunswick Golf Club — was planning on keeping it simple and conservative for the first 18 before pushing it on the second go around. However, rain twice delayed — and then shortened — the tournament.

Instead of 36 holes in the final day, golfers played 18.

“We were pretty consistent,” Manuel said. “Birdied 15 but then the horn blew when I had a look for birdie on 17. It didn’t look like too much then at 3 p.m. we went to our holes then they blew it again, then they made the announcement to 54 holes. I had it in the back of my mind when we got called the first time I was like, ‘No way this is going to happen.’”

“I was three back when I made the birdie on 17 but it didn’t give me a chance to come back. I didn’t push because you have another 18, so I kind of wish I had another 18 to push and come back and try to get him.”

A certain confidence was with Manuel heading into Thursday’s action as he had his father caddying for him. Spectators were not allowed the first two days of the competition, but Thursday caddies were allowed. So, instead of inviting someone up to caddy while his father waited, again, for Manuel to finish, he decided to have his father join. 

“We play a fair amount of golf together, not as much as we used to but he knows my game,” Manuel said. “I figured I wasn’t going to invite someone else down and not have him watch so it was definitely good. I asked him for second opinions on putts but other than that, give me measurements and it’s nice to have that little encouragement on the bag instead of motivating yourself. It was calming because I felt a little nervous in the second round so I was walking, flowing, making sure I was doing everything right. I was feeling comfortable so that’s why I was so bummed about the last round, I was confident.”

As for the fall, Manuel is still heading to the University of Connecticut in August even though the Big East Conference has canceled fall sports, including golf. Manuel and the golf team, however, plan to still practice and join some amateur events. 

“I am heading down Aug. 15 and we get tested when we get there, then a two week quarantine,” Manuel said. “Then, when we get the negative test we can start up. We are going to try to join amateur events and team build. It will be a building experience which isn’t bad for me as a freshman because i don’t know a lot of the guys, then hopefully have a spring season.”

Manuel is also playing the Maine Jr. Championship in Gorham on Tuesday in his final year of eligibility. In August, Manuel will also play in the Maine Event before heading to Connecticut.

At the Brunswick Golf Club Memorial on Sunday, Manuel played well but couldn’t keep up with his playing partner and winner, Husson golfer Cade Charron, who shot a 62 with eight birdies. 

“We made the same score on the first eight holes and I’ve never seen the kid shoot that well in my life,” Manuel said. “It was fun to watch. I know I play like that sometimes so it’s cool to see. He shot 62 and his best was 67 I think before that. I was trying to hang and usually it’s the other way around.”

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