Three former or current Gophers golfers give this year’s six sponsor exemptions Minnesota connections for next week’s 3M Open in Blaine.
World No. 42-ranked Erik van Rooyen, 1996 British Open champion Tom Lehman and current Gopher Angus Flanagan will play at TPC Twin Cities.
Van Rooyen played for the Gophers from 2009 until 2013, when he turned pro. He won once and lost in a playoff on the European tour in 2019.
A South African, he tied for 17th at the 2018 British Open at Carnoustie and tied for eighth at last year’s PGA Championship at Bethpage Black.
He won the coaches’ Tom Lehman Player of the Year award while with the Gophers.
Lehman returns to TPC Twin Cities for the PGA Tour event’s second year after he was last summer’s feel-good story there.
He was 6 under par after two rounds and played on Saturday with eventual champion Matthew Wolff, the long-hitting college star who shot 62 in that third round.
A former world No. 1 player, Lehman finished tied for 58th at 7 under.
Lehman, 61, assisted on the design and redesign of the TPC Twin Cities course, where the 3M Open, starting July 23, will be played without spectators as a made-for-TV event because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Tournament executive Hollis Cavner personally extended Flanagan one of those six exemptions after he shot a final-round 64 to win the Minnesota State Open last week at the Royal Golf Club in Lake Elmo.
An Englishman entering his senior season, Flanagan won the Big Ten individual title when he was a sophomore.
Former Pepperdine star Sahith Theegala and European Tour players Matthias Schwab and Bernd Wiesberger received the other three exemptions, the 3M announced Tuesday.
Theegala won the Fred Haskins, Ben Hogan and most recently Jack Nicklaus college Player of the Year awards.
Wiesberger is ranked 29th in the world and finished third on the European Tour’s 2019 Race to Dubai standings after he won three times on that tour last year.
Schwab played at Vanderbilt and had three top-four finishes last year in Europe.
World No. 4 Dustin Johnson and No. 6 Brooks Koepka — both major champions — have committed to play. The 156-man field will be finalized by 4 p.m. Friday.