Minnesota Golf Association

Flanagan Comes From Behind to Claim Second Win of the Season at Minnesota Golf Champions

October 4, 2020

 
By Nick Hunter
nick@mngolf.org
 
 
  GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. – Since his sophomore season at the University of Minnesota, Angus Flanagan has shown the ability to not only shoot low scores, but the capacity to shoot low scores at the most opportune times.
 
Flanagan entered the final round of the 2019 Big Ten Championships trailing by two strokes before coming from behind to earn medalist honors, becoming the first Big Ten champ for the Gophers since Jose Mendez in 2014.
 
Earlier this season, Flanagan entered the final round of the Minnesota State Open three strokes behind professional Jeff Sorenson and would fire a course-record 64 to earn a two-stroke victory at Royal Golf Club. Weeks later, at the 118th Western Amateur Championship, Flanagan continued the trend by firing a final-round score of 66 to earn medalist honors at Crooked Stick Golf Club.
 
Following his second-round 70 at the 46th Minnesota Golf Champions Saturday at Golden Valley Country Club, Flanagan had hoped to call home in England to inform his father that he sat in fourth place, two shots off the lead with one round to play.
 
“Because of the time difference he was already asleep, but in the morning, he sent me a text and said, ‘Just go do an Angus.’ Everyone seems to know me as a last-round guy,” Flanagan said.
 
Fueled by an eagle at the 10th hole Sunday, where he holed-out from a greenside bunker, Flanagan fired a final-round 66 to claim a two-stroke victory over Nate Stevens to earn his second state victory of the season.
 
“Expectations were pretty high, even though I didn’t play well the first two rounds. My scores were pretty good—I played pretty defensive, so I didn’t really make any numbers,” said Flanagan Sunday. “I didn't make many bogeys all week and didn’t have any today. As long as I can limit that and take advantage of my length on the par-5’s, I should be okay.
 
“I’m very happy with the way I performed. I took a couple of weeks off and wasn’t really practicing as much, so it’s nice to know that I still have it. I hit a couple of scrappy shots out there, but was able to recover pretty well.”
 
Flanagan led the field with only four bogeys over 54-holes this week, and played the par-5’s at 13-under for the three rounds. With his win Sunday, Flanagan becomes the third player to win the Minnesota Golf Champions and Minnesota State Open in the same season and first since George Shortridge claimed both titles in 1981.
 
Rolling in an 8-footer on the first hole Sunday, Flanagan quickly moved to 6-under for the championship and would pull within one shot of the lead following back-to-back birdies at the fifth and sixth holes.
 
Finding the bunker right of the 10th green, Flanagan took control of the tournament when his shot from the sand dropped into the cup, sending him into the lead at 10-under.
 
“The bunkers are really flat here and they’ve got big, steep faces, so it’s hard to get elevation,” he said. “I trusted myself, had speed through it and hit a great shot that bounced once, checked next to the pin and trickled in.”
 
Nearly sinking another eagle from 20 feet at the 13th, Flanagan tapped in for birdie to take a two-stroke lead before sticking his tee shot at the par-3 14th inside of four feet, leading to a birdie and a four-stroke lead after a Stevens bogey.

Playing fundamental golf to close out his round with four straight pars, Flanagan claimed victory at 12-under 207.
 
“I was on cruise mode and had to go at the middle of the greens, because 15, 16 and 17 are tough holes and they’re not holes you want to have a lead on. They’re so slopy, so you have to miss in the right spots. I had to take the pin off the green and leave easy putts. If I make it great, but if I don’t, I can make par and off I go.
 
“That’s old Angus—senior year Angus. Freshman and sophomore Angus would’ve been going at every pin and making stupid errors. Now I know I can get the ball close enough and putt the ball well enough.”
 
Thanks to his performance at the Minnesota State Open in July, the Woking, England product earned an exemption to the 2020 3M Open from the tournament’s executive director, Hollis Cavner. Making his debut in a PGA Tour event, Flanagan carded back-to-back rounds of 73 to miss the cut by six strokes.
 
“It was nice to be a really small fish in a big pond,” Flanagan said. “Growing up, that’s how I used to play golf. In the last year things have changed, and when you play in [national tournaments] guys know who you are.”
 
More recently, Flanagan lost in a playoff at the Windsong Invitational at Windsong Farm last month. With the fall collegiate season cancelled, Flanagan hopes the NCAA will allow the season to begin next spring. For now, he'll begin his offseason preparations early, still unsure of his plans beyond his senior year.
 
Stevens, who entered the final round tied for the lead with Andrew Israelson, came out firing Sunday with a birdie on the opening hole before playing his next eight holes at 2-under. A lone bogey at the par-3 14th proved costly for the Northfield High School junior as a pair of birdies over his final four holes weren’t enough to catch Flanagan, shooting 10-under 209.
 
“I know Angus is the best player in the Big Ten, so coming in I knew I’d have to hold him off. I thought if I could get to double digits under par, I’d have a pretty good shot,” Stevens said following his round Sunday. “I putted the ball really well this week—I really like the greens here. They’re very sloped and pretty quick. It was just fun to play out here.
 
“I’ve been playing pretty good this summer and have a couple wins, so the main expectation was just to have fun. I know that I can play with the best players in the state and maybe even the country. Angus is a top-50 amateur in the world.”
 
Stevens recently committed to play his collegiate golf at the University of Notre Dame.
 
“It’s a dream come true to go to my dream school,” he said. “It’s the school I’ve had in mind even before golf, so to be able to play golf there is just an added bonus.”
 
A string of three bogeys over a four-hole span midround kept Israelson from remaining in contention Sunday. The former North Dakota State University golfer posted a final-round 73 to finish third at 7-under 212.
 
Brent Snyder and Ryan Helminen each placed fourth at 5-under 214 to share Low-Professional honors.
 
 
 
THE 46TH MINNESOTA GOLF CHAMPIONS
GOLDEN VALLEY COUNTRY CLUB
GOLDEN VALLEY, MINN.
7,005 YARDS, PAR 73
 
 
SUNDAY’S FINAL RESULTS
1. Angus Flanagan, University GC, 71-70-66—207
2. Nate Stevens, Northfield GC, 70-69-70—209
3. Andrew Israelson, Vintage GC, 71-68-73—212
T4. Brent Snyder (p), Troy Burne GC, 73-71-70—214
T4. Ryan Helminen (p), Ridgeway CC, 74-69-71—214
6. Michael Schmitz, 2nd Swing ,77-68-70—215
T7. Matt Norgaard, Somerby GC, 76-69-71—216
T7. Trent Peterson, Fountain Valley GC, 70-71-75—216
9. Brady Hanson (p), 2nd Swing, 74-66-77—217
T10. Kris Kroetsch (p), Fargo CC, 77-71-71—219
T10. Sam Matthew (p), North Oaks GC, 74-69-76—219
T10. Thomas Campbell (p), 2nd Swing, 73-69-77—219
 
 
For complete tournament results go to: https://mnpga.bluegolf.com/bluegolf/mnpga20/event/mnpga2039/contest/5/leaderboard.htm
 
 
 


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