Unable to return home to England all these months because of the coronavirus pandemic, Gophers golfer Angus Flanagan made the most of being “stuck here” Thursday in the Minnesota State Open’s final round.
He left the Royal Golf Club in Lake Elmo with a pro-shop merchandise voucher, a handsome crystal cup and surging confidence after his course record 8-under 64 won him the title by two strokes in the three-day event for pros and amateurs.
Oh, and he also received an in-person invitation from 3M Open tournament executive director Hollis Cavner to play in the PGA Tour stop in Blaine two weeks from now.
“Stuck here sounds like a bad thing,” Flanagan said, “but it’s really not.”
He’s spending the summer before his senior season in Minnesota rather than quarantine for two weeks each coming and going back home to his parents in suburban London.
A 3-foot eagle putt on the Royal’s uphill 18th par-5 beat pal and runner-up Frankie Capan, the North Oaks golfer who has left Alabama to play with two other Minnesotans at Florida Gulf Coast University.
Flanagan missed the deadline to qualify for next week’s Minnesota State Amateur, but might get invited anyway. He paid to pre-qualify for the 3M Open, but maybe can seek a refund after Cavner invited him personally.
“I don’t care,” said Flanagan, who played with his caddie’s driver after his cracked on the third tee. “I’m kind of speechless at the moment. It’ll hit me when I put my head down on the pillow tonight that I actually did this.”
Flanagan started his third round tied for fourth, three shots off the lead, but had a birdie and an eagle the first two holes.
• Cavner also has offered an exemption to former Pepperdine star Sahith Theegala, who won both the Fred Haskins and Ben Hogan Player of the Year awards before he turned pro. Last summer Cavner offered exemptions to college stars Collin Morikawa, Viktor Hovland and eventual 3M Open champion Matthew Wolff.
Saints fall in slugfest
The St. Paul Saints had 20 hits but lost 12-11 to the Sioux Falls Canaries at Sioux Falls Stadium. After the Canaries scored four runs in the top of the eighth to take a 12-8 lead, the Saints countered with three in the bottom of the inning — two on Troy Alexander’s first homer of the season.
Four Saints players had three hits apiece. Mikey Reynolds was 3-for-4 with a triple and two doubles, two runs scored and two RBI. Chesney Young was 3-for-5 with two runs and three RBI. Chris Chinea was 3-for-6, including two doubles, and three runs. And Justin Byrd was 3-for-5.
On a hot night (86 degrees at game time) at a stadium nicknamed the Birdcage, attendance was a sparse 511. The loss dropped the defending American Association champions to 2-4 in six games against the Canaries.
• Former Gophers linebacker Kamal Martin, a fifth-round pick of Green Bay in the NFL draft, agreed to terms with the Packers.
• The Minnesota Golf Hall of Fame announced its 2020 Class of Hall of Fame inductees: Dawn Ginnaty, and posthumously, William F.“Bill” Brooks and Otis J. Dypwick.
• Holy Family defenseman Maeve Kelly, who will be a junior, committed to Ohio State in women’s hockey.