Camden’s Cole Anderson and Topsham’s Caleb Manuel will be participating in the NCAA Division I golf regionals beginning on Monday and lasting through Wednesday.
Anderson and his Florida State Seminole teammates are the second seed for the 13-team Morgan Hill Regional in California at the Institute LLC Golf Course. Pepperdine is the top seed.
Manuel and his University of Georgia Bulldogs are the sixth seed at the 13-team Bath Regional in Michigan at the Eagle Eye Golf Club. Illinois is the top seed.
This is Manuel’s first season at Georgia after he transferred from the University of Connecticut, where he spent two seasons.
Anderson and Manuel are both juniors this season and are coming off of impressive summer seasons that saw Anderson tie for third at a Korn Ferry Tour event and Manuel qualify for the U.S. Open. Now they’re looking to capitalize with their teams to earn a spot in the NCAA Championship tournament.
The top five teams from each of the six regionals qualify for that event at the Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, Arizona, on May 26-31.
The golfer with the best score from a team that didn’t qualify in the six regionals will also earn a spot in the NCAA Championship tournament.
Anderson and the Seminoles qualified for the final tournament and finished 21st among 30 teams a year ago. Anderson tied for 40th among 169 golfers with an 11-over-par 291. He had the lowest score on his team.
Manuel’s UConn team didn’t earn a spot in the regionals last year but he competed in the regionals because he was the individual winner in a playoff at the Big East Tournament. He finished second among the five individual participants at the regional held at the Yale Golf Club and did not advance to the NCAA Championships.
Anderson is having an outstanding season with the Seminoles.
He has six top-10 finishes in his 10 tournaments, including a tie for first and a second. He has shot in the 60s in 10 of his 30 rounds and his 70.20 stroke average per round is second best on the team behind Frederik Kjettrup’s 70.15.
“I’ve definitely taken steps in the right direction and I’m hoping to finish it off with a few good events,” Anderson said.
“My game has had steady progress from year to year and now I’m getting to that level where I’m competing to win golf tournaments and that’s where I always wanted to be. I like the way things are heading and I just want to keep things moving forward.”
Anderson, a two-time Maine State Amateur champion and a three-time state Class A individual champion from Camden Hills High School in Rockport, had a memorable summer.
He tied for third at the Live and Work in Maine Open Korn Ferry event at the Falmouth Country Club as an amateur and that earned him a spot in the next event on the Korn Ferry Tour, the Ascendant presented by Blue tournament at the TPC Colorado. He missed the cut in that tournament.
The Korn Ferry Tour is one step below the PGA Tour.
“Any time you can rack up some experience, it helps you make you more comfortable the next time you are in a similar position,” Anderson said.
He said he has been happy with his season but that there have been a few rounds he wishes he could have back.
“Overall, I’ve certainly achieved some goals on the list I make at the beginning of every year. I always want to be improving although it’s [at a slower rate] than you might like,” he said.
Anderson said the mental aspect of his game is where he has improved the most.
“It’s a matter of patience, I guess. It makes it a lot easier to shoot good scores when you aren’t overly concerned with the end result and just focus on taking things shot-by-shot,” he said.
Manuel has had an up-and-down year at Georgia.
He has had one top-10 finish and three top-20s in nine tournaments with the Bulldogs, with two rounds in the 60s among his 27. His 73.0 average per round is fifth on the team.
He has finished under par in four of his nine tournaments and even-par in another.
Like Anderson, Manuel also had a memorable summer by qualifying for the U.S. Open at The Country Club in Brookline, Massachusetts. The U.S. Open is one of the PGA Tour’s four Major Tournaments, though he failed to make the cut.
He has won the Maine Amateur twice and is a two-time Maine Class A schoolboy titlist.
The former Mt. Ararat of Topsham star was the former Big East Freshman of the Year and was also a first team and second team All-Big East selection when he was at UConn.