July 11, 2013
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SILVIS, Ill. — “Ladies and gentlemen, from Peosta, Iowa, representing the University of Iowa, please welcome, Steven Ihm.”
A first-hole birdie following that announcement and a nice ovation is not a bad way to start your first career PGA tour event.
“I was a little jittery,” said Ihm, who finished with an even-par 71 Thursday in the opening round of the John Deere Classic. “It is a nice tee shot down No. 10 to have for your first (PGA) tour event. I was a little nervous, but I thought I settled down really well.
“I came out with a birdie on the first hole; that was a good start. I had a double (bogey) on the second. I came back with a birdie. It was an up-and-down round. I was making birdies, and was happy to be doing that.”
After a birdie, double-bogey, birdie start, Ihm turned in five pars and a birdie on the 17th to get into red numbers at the turn.
The 2013 All-Big Ten selection used a birdie at the par-5 second, his 11th hole of the day, to move to two-under and into a tie for 25th. Following three-straight bogeys, Ihm birdied the seventh and eighth to move back under par (-1), before bogeying his final hole of the day to finish even.
“I played well,” said Ihm. “In my first PGA Tour event, shooting even par, that is never bad. I wanted to play a little better. I wanted to be shooting 69 or 68, what is what I thought I could have shot today. It was a good learning experience, and I am looking forward to tomorrow.”
Tomorrow, you can expect the same pro-Hawkeye crowds as seen Thursday in Silvis.
“Almost everyone I saw was sporting the Tigerhawk,” said Ihm. “I had a lot of fans in the crowd today. It was awesome. The guys I played with enjoyed it too; they had a good time. We are looking forward to having another nice crowd tomorrow.”
“We have been close,” said UI head coach Mark Hankins about having a Hawkeye in the field. “This year, we finally got our guy in there (the field) — a guy that can hang in there and play well. He did; he got it to two-under at one point.
“We have always said: if you put a Hawkeye in there you are going to get a crowd. Steven has the local Dubuque following as well. With the Dubuque and Hawkeye following, you have the second largest crowd out here besides (defending champion) Zach (Johnson).”
Ihm continues action Friday in round two at 2:15 p.m. (CT) off the first tee.
“It was fun with the roaming crowds and seeing everybody’s name up on the scoreboard,” said Ihm. “It is really surreal that I am here. I am happy I can play, but a little disappointed. I wanted to compete a little bit more. I will definitely be ready to go and will come out firing tomorrow.”
Fans can watch the John Deere Classic on the Golf Channel from 2-5 p.m. (CT) on Friday. On the weekend, the Golf Channel will have the coverage from noon to 1:30 p.m. (CT), before switching over to CBS from 2-5 p.m. (CT).