Gophers take eighth in Big Ten Match Play event

Thomas Longbella and Angus Flanagan each had two victories on the weekend.

Angus Flanagan competes in the Gopher Invitational on Sept. 10, 2017.

Image by Max Ostenso, Daily File Photo

Angus Flanagan competes in the Gopher Invitational on Sept. 10, 2017.

by Max Biegert

Minnesota defeated two Big Ten teams to open up its season with the Big Ten Match Play event.

The Gophers’ luck, however, ran out there.

The Gophers finished eighth in the Big Ten Match Play championship on Friday and Saturday in Palm Coast, Florida. All 14 Big Ten teams participated in the event. Minnesota was seeded fourth by Golfstat.

Minnesota faced Maryland and Iowa in the opening action and ended the day undefeated. Minnesota beat Maryland as a team 3-2-1 and Iowa 4-2. The Gophers lost to both Purdue and Ohio State in the final two rounds and finished in eighth place in the Championship.

“It was a successful week because we got a lot of feedback, we are able to keep going with plans in place,” head coach Justin Smith said. “We got eight guys who are hungry to play when they get the chance.”

SophomoreThomas Longbella and freshman Angus Flanagan both captured multiple victories on Friday. 

Longbella beat Evan Santa of Maryland by one in the morning. In his second round of play, Longbella found his rhythm. He beat Sam Meuret of Iowa after leading by seven with six holes to play. He had five birdies in that round. Flanagan had two close matches that ended with him winning by one both times. Senior Riley Johnson had four birdies in his second-round win against Iowa. 

The Gophers lost to Purdue on Saturday morning 0-4-2. The golfers only played nine holes due to fog. That extra rest could not help Minnesota as they lost to Ohio State 0-6-0. 

“We will get back to basics and back to fundamentals,” Smith said. “We will continue working hard and that will pay off with our bigger goals here in the spring.”