Former University of Iowa men’s golf standout Steven Ihm, making his professional PGA TOUR debut, finished tied for 27th at this week’s John Deere Classic. Ihm finished at -10 overall with a four-round total of 274 (73, 65, 68, 68). Ihm carded four birdies, 13 pars and a bogey during his final round.
“It was an awesome week,” said Ihm. “I would like to thank the John Deere Classic for allowing me to play this week and showcase my game. It was a super fun week. I played pretty well.”
Ihm, a native of Peosta, Iowa, competed in the John Deere Classic after earning a sponsor’s exemption for the second-straight year. In last year’s John Deere Classic, Ihm birdied his first hole and posted a 36-hole score of 140 (71, 69, -2), missing the cut by two strokes while competing as an amateur.
Ihm, a three-time PING All-Region honoree, became the first Hawkeye to earn three All-Big Ten honors in his career. Ihm won the third and fourth individual tournament titles (Hawkeye-GRE Invitational, Boilermaker Invitational) of his career as a senior in 2014, tying former Hawkeyes Brad Klapprott and Sean McCarty for the second-most career tournament victories in program history. Following his fifth place finish at the 2014 Big Ten Championships, Ihm was named to the tournament’s All-Championship team.
Ihm was tabbed as the Big Ten Golfer of the Week five times in his career, and was named Golfweek National Player of the Week on April 21following his victory at the Boilermaker Invitational. Ihm shot a final round 64 — equaling the second-lowest round in program history — leading the Hawkeyes to the team title. In his career, Ihm registered two of the top four single-season scoring averages, and three of the top 16, in program history. His 2013-14 average of 71.45 is the second-best mark in program history.
Ihm led Iowa to its sixth-straight NCAA Regional appearance this past season. Iowa is 1-of-3 Big Ten teams to appear in six-straight NCAA Regionals (Illinois, Northwestern).
Ihm was joined in the John Deere Classic field by two other former Hawkeyes (Guy Boros, Aaron Krueger), and UI teammate Raymond Knoll. Knoll, a sophomore, shot an even-par 71 during the second round of the John Deere Classic and finished +3 in his PGA TOUR debut.
Q. Talk about finishing up your first tournament as a professional.
STEVEN IHM: It was an awesome week; just a big thanks to the John Deere Classic for allowing me to play this week and really showcase my game. It was a super fun week. I thought I played pretty well
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Q. How much did you learn from Thursday to Sunday?
STEVEN IHM: Tons. My playing partners, Stankowski, he said just have fun with it, and playing with Glen today, he’s Steady Eddie, so that taught me a few things, too. Even if you’re hitting it well you’re not going to make a million birdies sometimes and things like that. I learned a ton about myself this week, and I definitely know my game is where I want it to be.
Q. This is something as you look forward that, yeah, this is what I want to do, isn’t it?
STEVEN IHM: Definitely. It was a super fun week. They’re not all going to be home events, but just being on this stage is where you want to be
Q. Taking home a check, that’s
STEVEN IHM: Yeah, that’s always nice. You’ve got to make money somehow. If I can do it by playing golf, that’s pretty fun
Q. What’s next for you?
STEVEN IHM: Next will probably be the Waterloo Open next week, and then I’ll have some Monday for Web.coms maybe the two following weeks, and hopefully I’ll be playing in those
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Q. Talk about having Andy as your caddie. He has 32 years’ experience. How did that help you?
STEVEN IHM: It was awesome. It took us not a few days to get meshed together, but he told me a lot of things after rounds. He says, you’re a pro now, let’s play like this. You don’t need to be doing all this extra stuff like you had to do in college. He helped me slow down and really focus on a lot of my shots, and I thought he did a great job this week.
Q. Talk about having the gallery out there. Obviously they were yelling on every hole.
STEVEN IHM: It’s awesome. Every time you take a birdie you get a roar like Zach (Johnson) or (Steve) Stricker or somebody. It was super fun, and it was an awesome experience
Q. Any thoughts on what you’re going to spend that first paycheck on?
STEVEN IHM: Probably put it in the bank real quick.