Misia Conklin to play in Tullymore Classic

By Gregory Johnson

Special to The Pioneer

Misia Conklin

Misia Conklin

CANADIAN LAKES – Tullymore Golf Resort has awarded its final Tullymore Classic sponsor’s exemption to a golfer familiar to staff, members, Michigan golf and the Symetra Tour.

Misia Conklin, a former Symetra Tour and University of Michigan golfer who has been the membership director at Tullymore Golf Resort for just over a year, will play in the June 28 to July 2 Fourth of July weekend visit of the Symetra Tour.

Conklin, 36, said Gary Lewandowski, the head golf professional at Tullymore and the Tullymore Classic director, came up with the idea.

“It has always been in the back of my head to start to compete again,” said Conklin, the 2002 Michigan graduate known then as Misia Lemanski, who played two full seasons and part of another on the Symetra Tour when it was called the Futures Tour.

“I haven’t really competed in 10 years, but I have kept playing with members in events and things like that, and I played in the Tullymore Classic Pro-Am last year,” she said. “I’m definitely excited. I don’t want to say apprehensive, but I’m getting those nervous butterflies that you get when you really care about competing.”

Lewandowski said he knew of Conklin’s background in golf, and like the idea that a member of the resort’s staff could compete with the professionals.

“She’s a great membership director and a great golfer, and it’s exciting that she gets this opportunity,” he said. “Everybody at Tullymore is excited for her, too. We will all be in her gallery.”

Conklin, a high school and junior golf standout in Grosse Ile, runner-up in the 2001 Michigan Women’s Amateur to her former Wolverine teammate Kim Benedict and champion of the Wolverine Invitational her senior year in college, had a few top 15s and a best of 13th in her two full years of Symetra Tour play in 2003 and 2004. In 2005 just after competing in LPGA Tour Qualifying, she opted to stop the tour life for an assistant golf professional position at Detroit Golf Club.

“You get a chance to work at Detroit Golf Club you take it,” she said.

She met her husband of almost six years, Jon Conklin, who is also a golf professional, while working at Detroit Golf Club. Jon Conklin is currently the head golf professional at Buck’s Run Golf Club in Mount Pleasant. They will work together on her golf game to prepare for the Tullymore Classic.

Conklin said her husband urged her to accept the sponsor’s exemption.

“I talked to Jon about it being a great opportunity to compete again and he and I have been talking about me getting back into competition,” she said. “I have great support in this already with our families planning to come up and support, and all the members who have been just great to me, and so many of them work really hard and care so much about the Tullymore Classic.”

She said it would be amazing to make the cut and play all three rounds of the Tullymore Classic.

“But my goal is just to get back into that competitive spirit and really play within my own game,” she said.

Conklin had been working at Tullymore only a few months when last year’s Tullymore Classic was played at the resort. She was impressed.

“I remember when I played on tour that Decatur (Ill.) and Syracuse (N.Y.) were tournaments that had great support and spectators,” she said. “That’s what I saw last year at Tullymore. Canadian Lakes really embraces it as their tournament, and everybody at Tullymore in ownership, on staff and all the members really work hard to make it a great event.”

She will be joined in the field of 144 golfers by the other sponsor’s exemption – Allyson Geer of Brighton, the Big Ten Freshman of the Year for Michigan State and two-time defending Michigan Women’s Amateur Champion.

The third Tullymore Classic is set for June 28 to July 2 with the Canadian Lakes Property Owners Corporation and SpartanNash, on behalf of its Our Family® and Spartan® exclusive private brands, teaming up with Tullymore Golf Resort to present two Tullymore Classic Pro-Ams on June 28 and June 29, before the field of tour players and those with exemptions (144 golfers) take over for three days.

The touring players on the “Road to the LPGA” will compete over 54-holes for a $100,000 purse. Colombian Paola Moreno shot a final-round 6-under 66 capped by a 20-foot birdie putt at No. 18 to win last year’s Tullymore Classic. Moreno has been back and forth between the LPGA Tour and the Symetra Tour in recent years and is among the top money winners so far this season.

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Posted by John Raffel

John is a sports reporter with the Pioneer as well as the Herald Review and The Lake County Star. He also coordinates the weekly Pioneer sports outdoors page. He can be reached at (231) 592-8356 or by email at jraffel@pioneergroup.com.

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