Flanagan’s fantastic fall success won’t be seen this spring

Angus Flanagan is one of the most successful Gopher golfers in recent memory.

Sophomore Angus Flanagan plays during the Gopher Invitational on Sunday, Sept. 9, 2018.

Courtney Deutz

Sophomore Angus Flanagan plays during the Gopher Invitational on Sunday, Sept. 9, 2018.

Matthew Kennedy

Following a standout start to his junior season, Gophers golfer Angus Flanagan was primed for a breakout spring with the hopes of elevating his name to the top of college golf. That was until the pandemic cut the spring season short before it barely began. 

Flanagan, the co-Big Ten Individual Champion in 2019, was the Gophers’ top performer this fall, notching three top-10 finishes in five starts, including a win at the Macdonald Cup. He also finished the fall ranked among the top-40 individual golfers in the country while racking up nine consecutive rounds under par.

“I really don’t know what happened when I started shooting a ton of rounds in the 60s,” he said. “[I] just had a ton of confidence and that still is helping my game right now. A clear mind is also important because in golf you can overthink a lot of things when in reality you just have to trust the process.”

Most recently, Flanagan was named a third-team PING All-American by the Golf Coaches Association of America, a first for a Gophers individual since 2014 when Jose Mendez earned an honorable mention. Flanagan was also selected for a spot on the 2020 Arnold Palmer Cup International Team. He is the third Gopher in program history to make the Arnold Palmer Cup.

Flanagan hoped his individual success along with the improvement of his teammates would vault Minnesota into contention for a national title this spring. 

“We were really looking forward to making regionals and nationals after some struggling seasons as a team overall. We were all really disappointed because the fall was really successful,” Flanagan said. 

Minnesota still has ways to go before it’s considered a top program among the likes of Oklahoma State or Stanford, which churn out PGA Tour talent consistently. However, Flanagan believes they can become one. 

“We have Erik Van Rooyen, who graduated a couple of years ago, on tour now sneaking into the top-50 professional world golfer rankings,” Flanagan said. “We also have a bunch of guys on the team right now who I think are worthy of making the tour. I think the program is trending up, and recruits like me fall in love with the place.”

A start in that direction came earlier this year when the Gophers won the Macdonald Cup at Yale University. Flanagan led the way with his second career win and had a career-best 54-hole score of 204 (6 under par). The following weekend, Flanagan was named the Big Ten Men’s Golfer of the Week. 

“I kind of kept checking after each hole how big our lead was because it was pretty significant,” he said. “Evan [Long] was playing in front of me and I was [in] first, he was second. It was cool to have a little competition between the two of us.”

Flanagan had his first visit on campus during a blistering cold January when it was minus 25 degrees. However, he overlooked the cold weather, ultimately choosing the Gophers because of his chemistry with the team. 

“My dad and I were there for about 90 minutes just chatting with the guys, and no other school clicked as much as I did with the players at Minnesota,” he said. “My teammates were the most important part of picking the right school since you spend so much time with them. I’m glad — I made the right choice. I’m lucky to play collegiate golf with my brothers and best friends.”

Flanagan is currently golfing with some fellow teammates in Florida, soon returning back to the Twin Cities. He has not returned back to his hometown of Woking, England since the pandemic outbreak occurred.