Topsham’s Caleb Manuel — who shattered the tournament record en route to winning the seventh annual Downeast Metro Amateur Golf Tournament last June — was the co-medalist at the Big East Men’s Golf Championships on Wednesday.
The University of Connecticut sophomore earned a bid to next week’s NCAA Division I Regionals by shooting an 11-under par 205 at the Mountain View Course at Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain, Georgia.
He shot a final round one-under-par 71 after posting a 68 and 66 in his first two rounds.
He tied for medalist honors with Seton Hall graduate student Gregor Tait, who shot 70-70-65- 205.
A sportsmanlike gesture by Tait ensured that Manuel would be able to advance to the regionals when Tait conceded the first playoff hole to him after each hit their tee shots.
Tait and his teammates had already automatically qualified for the regionals since Seton Hall won the team championship.
UConn finished third.
Tait could have prevented Manuel from moving on to the NCAA Regionals by beating him in the playoff. But Manuel earned the automatic bid by being awarded the playoff victory.
Manuel became the first UConn player to earn medalist honors at the Big East championships since Brian Ahern in 1994.
Tait took a one-shot lead when he birdied the 18th hole.
But Manuel birdied the par 5 16th hole and parred the 17th and 18th holes to tie Tait.
Tait had a tournament-leading 16 birdies and Manuel was second with 15.
The two led the tournament in par 4 scoring by going five-under-par. They were second in par 5 scoring at six-under-par.
There were 50 players from the 10 teams.
Huskies head coach Dave Pezzino said he “couldn’t be more proud” of Caleb.
“In my opinion, he has been one of the top golfers in the league all year and he showed it once again this week,” Pezzino said in a statement. “It’s an honor to have him advance and represent UConn and the Big East in NCAA Regional play.”
He will play at one of six sites in the NCAA Regionals on May 15-18.
Manuel, who was the Big East Freshman of the Year and a first team All-Big East selection a year ago, has had an outstanding season.
He had also been the medalist at the UConn Invitational and has had eight top 10 finishes in 12 tournaments. He has had 19 rounds of par or better, including 14 in which he shot in the 60s.
He was fourth in last year’s Big East championship tournament.
Manuel broke the Downeast Metro Tournament record by nine shots last June when he shot a 12-under par 129 at the Kebo Valley Golf Club in Bar Harbor and the Bangor Municipal Golf Course. He won by 15 strokes.
A month later, he captured the Maine Amateur at Kebo by firing a one-over-par 211 to edge Minot’s Will Kannegieser by one shot.
Manuel led Mt. Ararat High School of Topsham to two state Class A championships and he won two individual state titles.