One of England’s top golf recruits makes fast impact with Minnesota

The former Carris Trophy winner made the lineup and finished first among Minnesota golfers in his first year.

Angus Flanagan hits his drive at the 12th hole during the Gopher Invitational at Windsong Farms Golf Club in Independence, Minnesota on Sunday, Sept. 10.

Max Ostenso, Daily File Photo

Angus Flanagan hits his drive at the 12th hole during the Gopher Invitational at Windsong Farms Golf Club in Independence, Minnesota on Sunday, Sept. 10.

Max Biegert

Moving to a different country can be very scary for some, but for the Gophers men’s golf top recruit Angus Flanagan, the move was nothing new. 

Flanagan grew up 20 miles outside London in Woking, England where he attended high school at Bradfield College. 

“It’s quite nice being in a city because I am kind of used to it anyway and that was really one thing I was looking for when I was looking at universities,” Flanagan said. “I didn’t want to be in the middle of nowhere.”

Before making the trip to Minneapolis, Flanagan distinguished himself as one of England’s top young golfers. He was selected for the 2016-17 England Boys Golf Team, and was part of England’s winning team at the 2016 Boys’ Home Internationals. Now, he is in his freshman season at Minnesota where he has already cracked the starting lineup and finished first among Minnesota golfers in fall competition.

It can be tough to make connections with international players, but head coach John Carlson is used to it.

Carlson relies on connections to the golf associations and the directors of those associations to get to know international players.The team has one other international golfer on roster in Runar Arnorsson.

Carlson said the University, being a Big Ten school in a large city, is a unique place to sell to a recruit. 

“The Big Ten conference also has produced a lot of good golfers from international waters and we are just another one of those as well,” Carlson said.

Flanagan won the 2016 Carris Trophy at the English boys’ U18 open stroke play championship. He also accepted the Lowest Round Medal in the Duke of York’s Young Champions tournament.

“He won the Carris Trophy, so that got him on our radar right away,” Carlson said. “When we went and watched him, we liked his poise and we liked his ability to drive the golf ball.”

Flanagan wasn’t originally looking to go to Minnesota until a friend of assistant coach Justin Smith talked to Flanagan about the school at a tournament down in Miami. Soon after the tournament, Smith made the connection and got Flanagan to visit.

“I had a contact from [Smith] and next thing I knew I was over here having a visit and really loved the place,” Flanagan said. 

Just like any freshman, Flanagan has had to transition to the difficulty of college. He looks to major in business and finance down the road. Arnorsson is a senior on the team and has helped Flanagan to adjust to life as a student-athlete. 

“On my visit, [Arnorsson] and I became really close because we are two internationals,” Flanagan said. “He has helped me through a lot and guided me through on stuff like homework, when it’s due and it’s just the small things, but the small things actually helped.”

Arnorsson said he doesn’t feel that Flanagan needs help adjusting to the culture, but he feels more responsible for handing out advice and helping the freshman become more comfortable. 

“[Flanagan] has a lot of experience with traveling and playing different types of courses against the best players in Europe,” Arnorsson said. “He has more experience than probably most guys that arrive at college for their first year.”

Through the first two tournaments in the fall, Flanagan has looked consistent and poised. Last week at the Maui Jim Intercollegiate, he finished in the top-five for the first time in his career. 

“Last week, we played a really demanding golf course and he drove the ball beautifully,” Carlson said. “He’s got the talent, he’s so coachable and that is really going to help him as he navigates possibly being in the last group at one of our majors.” 

Flanagan has set many goals for himself in his freshman year and looks to bring all the success he has had before getting to Minnesota. Now that he is all settled in at Minnesota, Flanagan can focus on school and his golf game. 

“My end goal is to get Big Ten Freshman of the Year, along with being in the top 50 of the rankings at the end of the year,” Flanagan said. “I don’t like putting pressure on myself, I just go out and enjoy it and what happens, happens really.”