Stars earning stripes: Flanagan and Hopkins enjoy success in America

Former England boys’ squad player and Carris Trophy winner Angus Flanagan fired a course record score on Thursday to claim victory in the Minnesota State Open.

The Surrey golfer – in his senior year at the University of Minnesota – shot an eight under par round of 64 at the Royal Golf Club in Lake Elmo.

His victory in the professional event also earned him a dream slot in the field for the PGA Tour’s 3M Open at Twin Cities, Minnesota later this month.

Flanagan had planned on returning to England as the Covid-19 pandemic struck, but decided to stay in America because he would have had to quarantine for two weeks on arrival in the UK and a further two weeks on heading back across the pond.

The 21-year-old made the most of his extended summer break in Minnesota by pulling off a brilliant win.

It was a victory made all the more amazing due to the fact he cracked his driver face on the third hole of the final round and had to borrow a replacement from his caddie!

After his round and a two-shot win confirmed with a stunning eagle three on the final hole, Flanagan said: “Stuck here sounds like a bad thing, but it’s really not.

“I’m kind of speechless at the moment. It’ll hit me when I put my head down on the pillow that I actually did this.”

Flanagan wasn’t the only English amateur making the news in America this week.

Hertfordshire’s Jon Hopkins has been named the Jack Nicklaus Award winner for the NJCAA division.

“It means a lot because it’s pretty much the biggest you can win at the junior college level in terms of pure golf,” Hopkins said.

“He’s such a big name, such a prestigious prize.”

In normal times, Hopkins (pictured above) would have competed in a shootout with the winners from the other divisions for a spot in a PGA Tour event.

This year, he had to settle for a Zoom call with golf’s greatest champion – Nicklaus, a winner of 18 Majors.

“He got to ask us one question, and we got to ask him one question,” Hopkins said. “To be honest, he really shaped the game. He and his era really changed the game for everyone.”

Hopkins, whose younger brother Max is part of the current England boys’ squad, has also completed a business degree at Mississippi Gulf Coast and will now continue his collegiate career at NCAA Division I Florida Gulf Coast.