Peck wins Junior Am title

Published 2:59 am Sunday, July 27, 2008

When he’s not snowboarding, water skiing or playing laser tag, Cameron Peck also enjoys golf, and as he showed this week in the 61st U.S. Junior Amateur Championship, he’s one of the top junior golfers in the nation.

Peck, 17, took a par-first approach Saturday to beat Evan Beck, of Virginia Beach, Va., 10-and-8 to win the Junior Am title at Shoal Creek Golf Club.

“I didn’t want to give him the hole with a bogey,” said Peck who aimed to make par each hole and force Beck to hit his putts to beat him.

Beck, who had 28 birdies in the tournament, struggled in the final.

“I was putting great up until today, but I had only one birdie today and that doesn’t do it,” said Beck, who was originally an alternate for the tournament.

Peck, a resident of Olympia, Wash., led by six strokes after the first 18 holes of the 36-hole final, giving him a lead that helped him relax.

“I thought being 6-up going into the last 18, I’d really have to do something bad to let him catch up,” Peck said.

The weather also played to Peck’s advantage, as rain delayed the start of the second 18 holes and interrupted it again three holes in.

“(In Washington) it rains every day, so I’m just used to it. That would be a nice day in Washington, why wouldn’t it be a nice day here?” Peck said.

Peck went on to take a nine-stroke lead on the 27th hole of the match after a Beck double-bogey and sealed the win one hole later after a bogey by Beck. The 10-up margin is the largest in a championship, since the tournament went to a 36-hole final four years ago.

“When I made that jump up at the very beginning I think that took him by surprise and then from there he had to start trying to do things order to get it back,” Peck said. “I just played really, really good today, and he didn’t have his best game today.”

Following the win and a trophy presentation in the clubhouse, Peck examined the trophy with friends looking at the names of the previous 60 winners of the tournament. He specifically searched for three-time champion Tiger Woods. Peck’s name will now be engraved into the right side of the trophy next to Woods’.

“I don’t think I want to give this one back next year,” Peck said. “This is the biggest tournament I have won in my life.”

Peck out lasted 156 golfers and 144 holes of golf through five days to win the title. He shot 5-under for the week, through stroke and match play, and had one of the few eagles in the tournament on the par-four No. 7 Thursday.