Cole Anderson, right, and Caleb Manuel have competed against each other for years, including at the Maine high school Class A golf championship in 2018, won by Manuel. John Ewing/Staff file photo

They’ve been linked together in golf conversations for years, as Maine’s brightest amateur talents. They’ve faced each other in high school championships, Maine Amateurs and even professional tournaments.

Now, Caleb Manuel and Cole Anderson will share a stage again.

Manuel, a Topsham resident and junior at the University of Georgia, and Anderson, a Camden resident who’s a redshirt junior at Florida State, recently helped their teams qualify for the NCAA championships.

Manuel tied for second in the three-round regional at Bath, Michigan, finishing at 7-under to help the Bulldogs finish first by eight strokes. Anderson tied for 37th at 7-over at a regional in Morgan Hill, California, and Florida State took third to finish above the five-team cut.

The national championships will be held May 26-31 in Scottsdale, Arizona, and for the two Maine golfers, it’ll be yet another tournament reunion.

“I’m really excited to see him out there,” Anderson said. “There will be some nostalgia to it, looking back on him and I playing against each other at the start of age 13 or whatever it was. Here we are, 10 years later, and we’re on a much bigger stage but still doing the same things and chasing the same dream.


“It’s just cool that neither of us has strayed from that path.”

Anderson and Manuel will go into the NCAA championships from different angles of experience. For Manuel, who didn’t qualify in two previous seasons with the University of Connecticut, this will be new ground – and a level he’s been eager to reach.

“That’s a big reason why I moved, to be pushed by better players and play against better players,” said Manuel, 21. “It’s helped me strengthen my game, and we have a chance next week with a lot of momentum.”

Topsham’s Caleb Manuel has won the past two Maine Amateurs, including last year’s tournament at Webhannet Golf Club in Kennebunk. Gregory Rec/Staff Photographer

Manuel helped ensure the Bulldogs would make it. Georgia struggled at the SEC Championships but rolled in the regionals, and Manuel carded rounds of 66, 68 and 72 to challenge for the top overall spot. In the last round, Manuel was 4-over through 12 holes but finished strong with three straight birdies, a nod to his ever-improving mental toughness.

That toughness will be tested again in Arizona, but Manuel is confident he’ll be ready.

“I’m definitely used to it, and more comfortable in bigger tournaments,” he said. “I try not to worry too much about who I’m up against, versus the golf course and what I’m trying to do.”


It’s a different story for Anderson. The 22-year-old will be making his third straight trip to the NCAAs with the Seminoles, after helping Florida State to a 21st-place finish in 2022 and a sixth-place finish in 2021. Anderson tied for 40th at 11-over for four rounds last year and 65th at 16 over the year before.

“It’s nice to get through, but that’s sort of the expectation with the program,” said Anderson, who had surgery to repair a stress fracture in his hand in November. “Experience always helps. Also, just the fact that it’s at the same golf course … and (it’s important) to have the knowledge of where’s a good place to miss it and how to attack the golf course.”

The 2022 NCAAs kicked off a summer to remember for Anderson, one that included a stirring performance at the Korn Ferry Tour’s Live and Work in Maine Open, when he took a share of the lead into the final round of the professional tournament. This summer will be just as eventful for the former Camden Hills High standout, who is planning on playing in high-end national events, including the Sunnehanna Amateur in Pennsylvania and Northeast Amateur in Rhode Island in June, the Southern Amateur in Tennessee in July and the Western Amateur in Chicago at the end of July and start of August.

Camden’s Cole Anderson tied for third at the 2022 Live and Work in Maine Open at Falmouth Country Club, beating 149 of 154 professional golfers. Derek Davis/Staff Photographer

“I’ll be doing my usual deal of traveling around,” Anderson said. “It’s part of the deal now. … It’s what I signed up for, but it’s a pretty crazy lifestyle right now. Lot of hotels, lot of airports. Not a whole lot of time to be home.”

Anderson will miss the Maine Amateur, which is being played at his home course,the Samoset Resort, from July 11-13. He could, however, find himself with a spot in the U.S. Amateur, being played Aug. 14-20 in Colorado. Anderson is currently 49th in the World Amateur Golf Rankings, and the top 50 automatically qualify.

“That would kind of be the pinnacle of the summer,” said Anderson, who qualified for the U.S. Amateur in 2017 at 16 years old. “That’s an event that any non-professional golfer puts a star next to on their calendar.”


Manuel said he’s going to try to take more time off from tournaments than in previous years because of the lengthy college golf season, but his schedule will also feature high-end events. After the NCAA championships, he’ll try to qualify for a second straight U.S. Amateur, and then he’ll play in either the New England Amateur or Southern Amateur, as well as the Western Amateur.

“I want to go to these tournaments and do the best I can,” Manuel said, “and work on the mental aspect of the game. It’s just as important as the physical.”

Manuel plans to defend his back-to-back titles at the Maine Amateur, and try to become the first to win three straight since Mark Plummer from 2000-02.

“It’s always a fun week,” Manuel said. “I think people are going to remember you for winning Maine Ams. … That’s the first big tournament I qualified for, so it’s always been special to me.”

Manuel had his own signature highlight last summer when he qualified for the U.S. Open. His college schedule prevented him from trying to qualify this season, but as he pointed out, a return trip isn’t completely out – there’s an automatic spot open for the NCAA individual champion.

“I’ve got one chance to do it again,” he said. “(But) if it doesn’t happen this year, I’ve got a lot of years left.”

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.