May 22, 2014
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IOWA CITY, Iowa — Steven Ihm, a senior on the University of Iowa men’s golf team in 2013-14, has earned a sponsor’s exemption for the PGA TOUR’s John Deere Classic for the second-consecutive year. After competing in last year’s event as an amateur, Ihm (Ranked 25th in World Amateur Rankings, 11th in US Amateur Rankings) will officially make his professional PGA TOUR debut on July 8.
“I am honored for the opportunity to compete in the John Deere Classic again this year, and could not ask for a better tournament to make my pro debut,” said Ihm. “This is a great chance for me to jump start my pro career and I am truly grateful for this opportunity.”
“We would like to thank Clair Peterson and the tournament board for allowing Steven to make his second start on the PGA TOUR right here at home at the John Deere Classic,” said UI head coach Mark Hankins. “Steven has had a great career at the University of Iowa, earned this opportunity through his collegiate and amateur play, and is looking forward to competing at TPC Deere Run as he begins the next stage of his golf career. I am very proud of him and continue to appreciate his positive impact on our program.”
Ihm, a native of Peosta, Iowa, is currently ranked 24th in the men’s world amateur golf rankings. He became the first Hawkeye to earn three All-Big Ten honors in his career, earning first team all-conference accolades as a junior and senior after earning second team honors as a sophomore. Ihm is also a three-time PING All-Region honoree.
Ihm won the third and fourth individual tournament titles (Hawkeye-GRE Invitational, Boilermaker Invitational) of his career as a senior, tying former Hawkeyes Blad Klapprott and Sean McCarty for the second-most career tournament victories in program history.
Following his fifth place finish at the 2014 Big Ten Tournament 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 21 following 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 joined elite company as he won the 60th Annual Sunnehanna Amateur in June, 2013. PGA TOUR professionals such as Rickie Fowler, Webb Simpson, and Lucas Glover won the same event early in their careers. Ihm shot an eight-under par (272) for the four-round tournament, winning by two strokes over Cory Whitsett of Alabama.
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.
The 2014 John Deere Classic, held at the Tournament Players Club (TPC) Deere Run in Silvis, Ill., marks the 44th annual PGA TOUR event in the Quad Cities and the 16th year for John Deere as the title sponsor. This year’s tournament, which features a purse of $4,700,000 and a winning share of $846,000, runs from July 8-13.