Underclassmen lead Minnesota to fifth place finish in South Carolina

Four Gophers golfers finished in the top-22 individually.

Sophomore Angus Flanagan plays during the Gopher Invitational on Sunday, Sept. 9 at Windsong Farm Golf Club in Maple Plain, Minnesota.

Courtney Deutz

Sophomore Angus Flanagan plays during the Gopher Invitational on Sunday, Sept. 9 at Windsong Farm Golf Club in Maple Plain, Minnesota.

Nick Jungheim

After competing in Georgia last week, Minnesota stayed in the Southeast over spring break and took part in the Furman Intercollegiate in Greenville, South Carolina last weekend.

The Gophers received strong performances from their underclassmen to finish with an 860 (+8), good for fifth place in the 21-team field. For the team, it was their third top-five finish of the year and their first of the spring. 

“Finishing in the top five is always kind of a mini goal for what you want,” said associate head coach Justin Smith. “It means you’re in contention. Hopefully you’re close enough to the leaders and hopefully you’ve been leading. But I think the reality, one of the trends with our team, is that we’re always improving.”

Sophomore Angus Flanagan extended his streak of leading the Gophers in scoring to four consecutive tournaments, and tied with fellow sophomore Evan Long and freshman Lincoln Johnson. All three finished in 11th place with two-over-par 215 scores. 

“It’s just nice to have backup,” Flanagan said. “It’s always tough when you see guys at the back of the field, whereas this week it was nice to see some Minnesotans up there.”

The team’s other freshman, Harry Plowman-Ollington, turned in the best tournament of his young career. He finished just behind the other three underclassmen in the lineup with a 217 (+4). 

“We spoke about that the other day,” Plowman-Ollington said. “The average being 19 for the guys in our lineup. It’s nice to see us get some good finishes.”

Plowman-Ollington shot a round under par for the first time in his career with a second-round 70 (-1) and finished tied for 22nd among individuals.

Junior Thomas Longbella rounded out the lineup and ended his tournament at 18-over (231). Junior Noah Rasinski and redshirt sophomore Gus Minkin competed as individuals. Rasinski shot a 229 (+16) and Minkin finished with a 232 (+19).

Costal Carolina took first place at the tournament with a seven-under 845. They finished four strokes ahead of second place Davidson, who was the only other team under-par with an 849 (-3).

Among individuals, Furman junior Keller Harper finished in first place with a 205 (-8). Harper took the top spot after Costal Carolina senior Wes Artac bogeyed the final hole to finish at 206 (-7).

As the weather continues to warm up, Minnesota will compete in two tournaments hosted by Big Ten opponents before the conference championships. The Gophers will participate in the Rutherford Intercollegiate in State College, Pennsylvania on April 13, before heading to Iowa City, Iowa, the following week for the Hawkeye Invitational.

“We set up the spring schedule a little bit from a momentum standpoint and leading into the Big Ten Championship to make sure we’re playing our best golf.” Smith said. “I really want to see this team be in contention and win.”