Cameron Peck, 17, of Olympia, Wash., won six of the first eight holes against Evan Beck, 17, of Virginia Beach, Va., and went on to claim the U.S. Junior Amateur title at Shoal Creek golf course, 10 and 8. It was the largest margin of victory since the event went to a 36-hole final four years ago.
“I don’t think it has sunk in yet,” said Peck after he closed out Beck with a winning par on the 28th hole. “This is the biggest win in my life.”
Peck, who now is exempt into the 2008 U.S. Amateur, won three of the first six holes on the 7,251-yard, par 72 layout with birdies. He made a 7-footer for birdie on the first hole and won the second with a par. He won holes four through six, making birdies on the latter two, and then added another birdie on the eighth hole from 12 feet to go 6 up.
Beck finally won the 10th hole and cut Peck’s margin to four holes by winning the next as well. But that was the end of Beck’s rally and the last hole he would win.
“It still kind of stings,” said Beck, who was an alternate for the 156-player field until four days before the championship started. “But I made the finals and that’s pretty good. I was putting great up until today, but I had only one birdie today and that doesn’t do it.”
Peck regrouped and pushed his lead back to 6 up by winning two of the last three holes before the morning break. He stole the par-3 16th with a par after Beck made a bad chip and snatched the next hole from Beck with a birdie by sticking his wedge shot on the par 5 to within 18 inches.
“I like where I’m standing,” said Peck at the break. “I’m just hitting good wedge shots and sticking them to give myself a chance to make birdies.”
He won four more holes without giving any away to win going away.
He won the second, fifth, ninth and 10th holes of the afternoon. He closed out Beck with a winning par on the 414-yard 10th hole, two-putting from 18 feet.
Beck struggled off the tee at the start of the day, hitting just two of the first seven fairways. Conversely, Peck’s aim was near perfect as he hit six of first seven fairways.
Peck also wielded a hot putter. He one-putted eight times in the morning round and was the equivalent of one over par. He made one more birdie in the afternoon – at the par-3 fifth hole. He finished the match the equivalent of two over par for 28 holes.
Peck, a highly-ranked player who also won junior tournaments in each of the past two weeks, reached the championship match with a come-from-behind win over Dominic Bozzelli, 17, of Pittsford, N.Y., in Friday’s semifinal round. He won the last two holes of the regulation 18 to square the match and led for the only time against Bozzelli at the end, after he made par on the second extra hole.
Beck reached the final by beating 14-year-old Jordan Spieth of Dallas, Texas, 1 up. Unlike in the championship match, Beck started quickly, making three birdies and standing four up after the first eight holes.
The U.S. Junior Amateur is one of 13 national championships conducted by the United States Golf Association, 10 of which are strictly for amateurs. This U.S. Amateur, one of the USGA’s championships, was held at Shoal Creek in 1986.
The 1984 and 1990 PGA Championships were also at Shoal Creek.