Gophers’ Angus Flanagan to play in 2021 Walker Cup

Flanagan is officially on the 10-man roster after previously being a part of the 15-player prospect pool in December.

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Courtney Deutz

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

Matthew Kennedy, Sports Reporter

On March 30, one of the Gophers’ top golfers Angus Flanagan made the Great Britain and Ireland Walker Cup roster.

The Walker Cup is a match play tournament that occurs every two years between Great Britain and Ireland (GB&I) and the U.S. and has been played since 1922. The 48th Walker Cup will take place at Seminole Golf Club in Juno Beach, Florida, from May 8-9.

“It’s always been a goal of mine to have four years of school and then play the Walker Cup during my senior year, or the end of my senior year,” Flanagan said. “I was at Seminole in 2016 playing with my dad and we met the head pro there and that’s actually how I ended up playing at Minnesota. So it’s a funny story how Seminole got me to Minnesota, and now that’s where I’m going to play the Walker Cup. It’s come full circle.”

The connection that Flanagan met at Seminole was Bob Ford, who was a head professional at Oakmont Country Club in Pittsburgh until 2016 and will retire at Seminole this June. When Gophers head coach Justin Smith was playing professionally, Ford was a mentor to Smith. Both are originally from Pennsylvania.

Flanagan recently played Seminole last winter break, so he’ll bring familiarity with the course when he represents GB&I in the Walker Cup this May.

Flanagan is also good friends with eight of the members on the GB&I squad, who attend schools across the country such as Wake Forest, Louisville and Stanford. He also has a family friend from Scotland that played in a Walker Cup that he has been in contact with for advice on the event.

“This past year I’ve played in my first two PGA events [3M Open and Genesis Invitational] and now I get to play in the Walker Cup, which is the pinnacle of amateur golf,” Flanagan said. “It is pretty surreal given the circumstances with COVID-19.”

The U.S. has won the last two Walker Cups and needs 13 points to get a third straight. GB&I will need 13.5 points to bring it back to Europe.

Flanagan thinks his team will have the advantage because Seminole is a tropical course with heavy gusts from the ocean, which is similar to what it is like playing across the pond on the English and Irish coasts.

“In theory, Seminole should suit us guys from back home because we can hit the ball low and we’ve played a bunch of wind golf before, so it should be a good one,” Flanagan said.

Flanagan is the second Gophers’ golfer to compete in the Walker Cup, following former Minnesota hockey and golf player John Harris who represented Team USA four times.

In his current collegiate season, Flanagan is ranked No. 9 in the PGA Tour University rankings and leads the Gophers in scoring average (72.08), rounds under par (6), lowest round of 18 (68) and lowest 54-hole score (207). His 71.67 scoring average in the 2018-19 season is currently third in program history, and his average this season would place him top-10 in program history.

Flanagan also won co-Big Ten Golfer of the Week honors after winning the Boilermaker Invitational with a score of 9-under. This was Flanagan’s third individual title after winning the Macdonald Cup in 2019 and being a co-medalling at the 2019 Big Ten Championship.

Minnesota as a team finished tied for third with host-team Purdue this Sunday at Kampen Golf Course.