Originally written on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 7/10/13

ATLANTA - SEPTEMBER 26: Steve Stricker hits his tee shot on the eighth hole during the third round of THE TOUR Championship presented by Coca-Cola, the final event of the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedEx Cup, at East Lake Golf Club on September 26, 2009 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
Steven Ihm (University of Iowa) Looking through the field line-up for this week’s John Deere Classic in Silvis, Illinios, I noticed a familiar name. Among the headliners like Steve Stricker and Zach Johnson, was a name I knew from playing against him in the junior college ranks. Steven Ihm, a Dubuque, Iowa native, played at Indian Hills Community College in Iowa and now currently plays at the University of Iowa, and had me searching to make sure I wasn’t seeing things. Ihm received a sponsor’s exemption into this week’s John Deere Classic. The tournament has sought to identify top young talent with the intention of giving them a feel for the pro game should they choose to pursue becoming an established professional. Ihm joins a group of prestigious golfers who have also received exemptions into this tournament. Zach Johnson, Webb Simpson, Matt Kuchar, and Tiger Woods are some just to name a few. Last month, Ihm won the Sunnehanna Amateur in Pennsylvania, a tournament which has been won by players like Rickie Fowler and Ben Crenshaw. He will also be competing in the U.S. Amateur this coming August. In addition to this prestigious company, Ihm has had a decorated collegiate career, both in the junior college and Division I ranks. After earning the Phil Mickelson award in 2011, which is given to the top Junior College freshman golfer and leading Indian Hills to a Junior College National Championship, Ihm had already built up quite an assortment of qualifications. After his decorated career at Indian Hills, he has not disappointed while attending the University of Iowa.  Among other awards, this spring, Ihm was a first team All-Big Ten selection and a Hawkeye team-low scoring average. Ihm will be playing close to home during this tournament and will be sure to have a superior gallery following him. Even though a lot of people who watch the John Deere Classic this week won’t know many other favorites besides Zach Johnson or Steve Stricker, Ihm will have more people watching and supporting him than he knows. After seeing what he is capable of doing firsthand, I can tell you with confidence that we will be seeing this young man week in and week out. After all, how can you not root for a small town kid from Iowa? I will be.
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