YORK — Some days on a golf course are great. Others? Not so much.

“That’s golf,” said Caleb Manuel, 21, of Topsham.

One day after making the game look easy as he shot a 5-under to win The Maine Event by five strokes at Augusta Country Club, Manuel struggled to a 7-over 79 over the first 18 holes of Wednesday’s U.S. Amateur Qualifying event at The Ledges Golf Club. With virtually no chance of climbing back to finish in the top two spots needed to qualify for the 123rd U.S. Amateur, Manuel opted to withdraw from the 36-hole, single-day tournament.

“I didn’t start well and I got down on myself and I didn’t play well from there,” said Manuel, who recently finished his junior season playing for the University of Georgia.

As it turned out, Manuel probably saved himself an even longer day of frustration. With about two-thirds of the players who had not yet withdrawn still on the course, the event had to be halted because of lightning at about 6:15 p.m. There had already been an early-morning 45-minute rain delay.

Two golfers from Quebec, who have competed with and against each other since they were 10, were well ahead of the field when the lightning warning siren was sounded.


Laurent Desmarchais, 22, of Bromont, Quebec, was 8-under par and on the green at the third hole with six more holes to play. William Duquette, 22, who qualified for the U.S. Amateur at The Ledges in 2021, was 6 under and will restart with his second shot on the 15th hole and three more holes to play.

Desmarchais plays at the University of Tennessee. Duquette will be a fifth-year senior at Kansas. They are among the 11 players who told tournament organizers they will come back to The Ledges for the Thursday’s 8 a.m. start to finish the necessary 36 holes.

Desmarchais and Duquette just have to avoid a major meltdown on Thursday to clinch being part of the 312-player U.S. Amateur at Cherry Hills Country Club in Cherry Hills, Colorado, Aug. 14-20.

The next lowest golfer, in line for one of two alternate slots, is Will Campbell, 20, of Yarmouth, Massachusetts. A player at Methodist University in North Carolina, Campbell finished both his rounds with identical even-par 72s.

Three players are at 1-over par with holes to play: Liam Gill of Wayland, Massachusetts, with seven holes left; Matthew Cowgill of Weston, Massachusetts, with three to play; and Michael Hersey of Peabody, Massachusetts, with six to play.

Bennett Berg of Portland is 4 over for the tournament with just 60 yards to play on his final hole and will likely be Maine’s low-scoring player.


Berg said he’ll return for “two shots.”

“It’s hard to leave it like that,” Berg said. “I might as well come back even though it’s a 45-minute drive for me. You can’t leave the job unfinished.”

The United States Golf Association is changing its qualifying process for its men’s, women’s and junior championships for 2024. There will be no more 36-hole single-day qualifiers. Also, Maine will no longer host a U.S. Amateur qualifier.

“It’s disappointing. This was my first year here,” Berg said. “I feel it’s nice to have it in Maine.”

A trade-off for Maine golfers is that starting in 2024 each state amateur champion will be exempt for the U.S. Amateur.

Two-time Maine Amateur champion Cole Anderson of Camden, coming off his red-shirt junior season at Florida State, was not participating at The Ledges. Anderson is one of 63 players who earned exemptions for this year’s U.S. Amateur. Anderson qualified by being in the top 50 points leaders in the World Amateur Golf Ranking as of June 14. He is currently ranked 39th.


Eli Spaulding of Freeport, the reigning Maine Junior Amateur champion, is in position to be the second-highest finisher from Maine. Spaulding is coming back to finish his second round and is currently 6 over with seven holes to play, having played even par in his afternoon round.

Thomas Whelan, also of Freeport, finished his two rounds shooting 77-74 for a 7-over total of 151. Drew Glasheen, 36, of Oakland also wrapped up his two rounds with a respectable 75-78-153, 9-over total.

“I think this was my third time trying it,” Glasheen said.

“I do it because I know if I shoot my best score I can get in the mix. But unfortunately it’s not an easy course to shoot your best.”

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