State champ gives tips to Junior Am champ

Taylor Hughes thinks he knows a thing or two about playing Shoal Creek.

Hughes is a second-generation member at Shoal Creek and former member of the Briarwood Christian School golf team that won the Class 5A state championship in 2006 and 2007. When qualifying came around for the 61st annual Junior Am at his own course, he was ready to go, but couldn’t, because he turned 18 just weeks before the start of the championship.

Disappointed, yet wanting to be close to some good golf, Hughes decided to put his name in the hat for a caddie position, drawing the name of a 17-year-old Cameron Peck, from Olympia, Wash.

“It was great to be able to caddie, especially for a player like him,” Hughes said. “I just figured I knew the course so well, it would be fun to do,” Hughes said of choosing to caddie.

When he saw Peck’s name he realized he had a shot at having a good week.

Hughes was amazed at what Peck could do within 100-yards to the hole.

“His short game is phenomenal,” Hughes said.

Peck credited Hughes’ knowledge of the course to help him learn to read his putts at the Jack Nicklaus-designed course.

“I couldn’t have done it without him. He knows pretty much everything about this course. The greens are tricky here,” Peck said.

But the week wasn’t just carry the bag, hand the golfer a club.

Hughes and his family helped show Peck and his mother Misun around Birmingham after the tournament round concluded each day. The friendship between the family grew as the week went on, as at tournament’s end members of the Hughes family were posing for championship photos.

Their gift to Peck — a Shoal Creek cap — became the one he wore when taking photos with the trophy after the championship match.

Hughes, who played at Briarwood since the seventh-grade, will attend Auburn University this fall. While Hughes will be a golf spectator at Auburn, instead of a player, he’ll most likely keep up with Peck through his college pursuit in Texas.

“He’s a great guy, we got along really great,” Hughes said.