Troy Christian’s Tanner Conklin to play golf for Taylor University


TROY — Troy Christian senior Tanner Conklin had an amazing odyssey to earning second team All-State honors in golf this past fall.

Conklin, also a standout goalie in soccer for the Eagles, will continue that trek on the links as he signed his letter of intent to play golf for Taylor University Wednesday at the Arbogast Performing Arts Center.

“It is really cool,” the son of Troy and Michelle Conklin said. “I had a couple other opportunities, but one of the big things is they are ranked sixth in the nation in NAIA in men’s golf right now. Also, it was very important to me to go to a Christian college. So, I am excited to be going there and seeing what I can do.”

While being a standout in goal on the soccer pitch for the Eagles the past four years, Conklin honed his golf game in the summer playing on the Golfweek Junior Tour.

As a senior, he made the decision to play both soccer and golf and what a season it was.

He had an average of 34.6 for nine holes this season, set school records of 31 for nine holes and 69 for 18 holes.

Conklin had goals of winning a D-III state title, but tore his ACL and partially tore his meniscus just days before the district golf tournament.

He made the decision to go ahead and play with the aid of a golf cart. He shot 36 on his final nine holes to qualify for state and a week later, finished in a tie for seventh at the state tournament.

“I really didn’t think I would be able to do it,” Conklin said about playing with his injury. “But, when you get put in that position, you just do it. I had thoughts of winning a state title, but that didn’t happen.”

Conklin is thought to be the first Troy Christian golfer to go on and play at the next level.

“Of course, it is always exciting to have someone in the program go on to the next level,” Troy Christian golf coach Matt Shaffer said. “I don’t Troy Christian has had a golfer play at the next level. It will be exciting to see what he can do. If he works at it, he has the potential to be playing professionally somewhere some day.”

In 70 games in his high school soccer career, Conklin recorded 418 saves and had 28 shutouts in goal. Troy Christian advanced to the regionals in two of his four seasons.

It has been great to see the way Tanner has matured since eighth grade over the last four years,” Troy Christian boys soccer coach Ryan Zeman said. “Not, just his body, but his leadership and the person he is. He is one of favorite players to ever coach. It has been great to be able to coach him.”

Conklin admits it will be strange to not play soccer next year — but, said it is for the best after having surgery to repair his knee.

“It is probably better for my body,” Conklin said about not playing. “But, I am going to miss it. That is for sure.”

Taylor men’s golf coach Lorne Oke is excited to get Conklin.

“The Taylor men are really looking forward to having Tanner join this group of guys,” Oke said. “He has already met most of our players and they hit it off right away. Tanner is a strong player with a quality game and has not even reached his full potential yet. He’s really competitive and will fit right in with our team culture.”

Conklin has already recovered from surgery and can’t wait to get back out on the links.

“As far as a full swing goes, I am fine,” Conklin said. “I just have work on my building my cardio back up to where I can walk six miles on a golf course.”

And Conklin isn’t done trying to add to his golf resume before he gets to Taylor.

“I think playing on the Junior Circuit by myself can really help me,” Conklin said. I would like to get a couple tournament wins before I head over to Taylor. We will see what happens when I get to Taylor.”

If this past season was any indication, it will truly be an amazing odyssey.

Sports Editor Rob Kiser can be reached at [email protected]

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