The University of Minnesota presence was felt at the first two days of the 3M Open. Three current and former Gophers competed on Thursday and Friday, including rising senior Angus Flanagan who made his PGA Tour debut.
Heading into the event, Flanagan has been red hot. He earned a victory at the Minnesota State Open where he shot a course record 64 at Royal Golf Club. After that performance, he was given a chance to compete at the next level and make his PGA Tour debut at the 3M Open.
Flanagan played his rounds alongside fellow British golfer Tom Lewis and Nelsen Ledesma. In his debut round, Flanagan shot a 2-over 73. He had a stand-out moment on hole No. 10 where he sank an impressive 25-foot putt for a par save.
He spoke to Gopher Sports after the round Thursday.
"I'm not gonna lie, I was a bit nervous the first few holes," Flanagan said after his round. "I didn't really play too bad, I just couldn't get the ball in the hole."
"But overall, I was pretty pleased with the way I got the ball around. I wasn't really — I wasn't hitting my driver too well. I was slightly pulling it, and I never pull my driver, so that was kind of — it was a bit weird doing that. But at the end of the day, 73, I'm not too disheartened by it, especially for my first round playing out here. I'm pretty happy."
After finishing his round around 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Flanagan was back on the links to make his 8:50 a.m. tee time on Friday, where he shot another 2-over 73 to put him at +4 over the first two days of the tournament. At +4, Flanagan sits well below the cut line, which is currently at -2.
Former Gophers Tom Lehman and Erik van Rooyen also competed this week at the 3M Open. Van Rooyen shot a 3-over 74 on Thursday and a 2-under 60 Friday to sit at +1, shy of the cut line. Lehman shot an even par 71 Thursday and a 1-under 70 on Friday to sit at -1, currently just shy of the cut line which sits at -2.
While Flanagan had no trouble stringing together pars on Thursday and Friday, he struggled to make birdies. A few missed putts and difficult bunker shots proved trouble and led to a few bogeys.
"Struggled really these two days. I'm normally someone who hits a fade and I kind of saw the ball falling left, starting it right, falling left," Flanagan told the media after his round Friday. "...But overall, it's just a learning experience for me. I'm not too disheartened."
Despite missing the cut, Flanagan gained valuable experience that will only help him improve moving into his senior season at Minnesota.
"For me, it's just a learning curve at the moment, and I've obviously got to thank Hollis for everything that he's done and 3M for the exemption because without them, I wouldn't be here. So definitely thank you to them for that," Flanagan told the media Friday.