Minnesota places 12th at Maui Jim Intercollegiate

Gophers start fast but fail to maintain momentum.

Nick Jungheim

The only thing hotter than Lincoln Johnson and Angus Flanagan’s start to the Maui Jim Intercollegiate was the 100 degree heat in Scottsdale, AZ.  

The pair shot first-round scores of 65 and 66 respectively, the first time in over-a-decade two Gophers recorded scores of 66 or better in the same round.  

For Flanagan, it was nice to have time to recover following a tough start to the season.

“I just stuck to what I’ve been doing,”  Flanagan said.  “To be honest I didn’t really work on too much.”

Unfortunately, the first-day momentum didn’t continue throughout the weekend for Minnesota.  Despite finding themselves in a tie for fifth on the team leaderboard after round-one, they slipped to 12th by tournament’s end.

“It’s kind of a feast or famine golf course,” said associate head coach, Justin Smith.  “We just found the desert too many times the last couple of days.”

For Minnesota, this was the first tournament since they hosted the Gopher Invitational two weeks ago.  Coach Smith penciled in the same lineup as the group that finished tied for fifth in that tournament.

The young team featured two sophomores in Flanagan and Evan Long and one freshman in Johnson.  Junior Noah Rasinski competed in his second tournament with the Gophers after transferring from Concordia-St. Paul.

Coach Smith believes getting his young players experience will help the group down the road, especially his impressive freshman.

“I think there’s a lot of good things, [Johnson] has learned from these last couple days,” Smith said.  “His game didn’t waiver a whole lot.  It was just some things from a putting and short-game perspective he didn’t capitalize on.”

The most experienced golfer to compete for Minnesota was Thomas Longbella.  The junior impressed with his consistency, shooting rounds of 70-70-69, for a total of 209 (-1).  Longbella came in two strokes behind Flanagan, who led the Gophers in scoring with a 207 (-3).

“They’re our leaders on the road, even though they’re a junior and sophomore, which is exciting,” Smith said.  “They just know what they have to do every day.  That’s what we’re trying to instill in our younger players.”

Redshirt sophomore Gus Minkin competed as an individual and finished with a final total of 221 (+11).

Georgia Tech won the tournament with a combined total of 814.  The Yellow Jackets combined to shoot seven-under on the tournament’s final day, leapfrogging LSU and Arizona state to win the tournament by two-strokes at 28-under-par.

Clemson’s Bryson Nimmer also took advantage of a strong third-round to place first among individuals.  Trailing Arizona State’s Chun An Yu by a single stroke headed into Sunday, Nimmer shot five birdies and no bogeys over the final 18 holes to take first at 15-under overall.

As for the Gophers, their next tournament will take place a little closer to home.  They will compete in the Marquette Intercollegiate in Erin, WI starting on Sunday September, 30.  

“I just want to work on my fundamentals,” Flanagan said thinking about how he will prepare for his next outing. “As long as everything is parallel for me, not much can go wrong.”

After the tournament, Coach Smith remained up-beat, expecting a strong showing from his team in Wisconsin next week.

“Our effort and attitude are there,” Smith said.  “Our game plan is there.  We’ll get better every day.  We’re looking forward to getting home and getting ready for our next tournament.”