SILVIS, Ill. — The great news for University of Iowa golfer Steven Ihm is that he made six birdies in his first PGA Tour round.
The not-so-great news is he had four bogeys and a double-bogey.
The overall news was that Ihm cobbled together an even-par score of 71 Thursday at the John Deere Classic, pretty good for a 21-year-old senior-to-be who was playing with golf’s big boys for the first time.
However, it didn’t live up to Ihm’s expectations.
Shooting par in your first Tour event, Ihm said, “is never bad. But I wanted to play a little better. I wanted to shoot 69, 68. That’s what I think I could have shot today. I thought 71 was about as bad as it could have been.”
Ihm birdied his first hole of the day, the par-5 10th, but then double-bogeyed the par-4 No. 11.
“I didn’t fully go through my routine on the tee,” he said. “I kind of rushed it a bit. It cost me a 6. But I came right back with a birdie after it.”
Ihm didn’t have a par on his final six holes of the day. He bogeyed 4, 5 and 6, birdied 7 and 8, and bogeyed 9. He had been 2-under through his first 12 holes, heady stuff.
“Out here there’s an intricacy, an exactness to every shot,” said Ihm’s Hawkeyes coach, Mark Hankins. “You can’t waste a shot. That’s something Steven can certainly learn from.”
Ihm also gained the experience of playing before a lot of fans, many who came to TPC Deere Run to follow him. Included were Hawkeye football players past and present Brett Van Sloten, Matt Tobin, and placekicker Mike Meyer, who was a Dubuque Wahlert schoolmate of Ihm’s.
“It was awesome,” Ihm said, and he used that word several times in describing his experience. But he wants more.
If the cut had been Thursday, Ihm wouldn’t have made it. But if he shoots a good score today, he can play through the weekend.
“He has the potential to go low,” Hankins said. “A 66 is not out of the question tomorrow.”“I just have to be patient all day,” said Ihm. “All my bogeys were from rushing one shot. I think tomorrow I’ll have a little bit more mental strategy.”