Close To Perfection
Never Has The Junior Amateur Been Won In Such Dominating Fashion.2008 Championship Annual: The Year In Review
By Craig Smith
When defending champion Cory Whitsett of Houston was upset in his first-round match (by Dominic Bozzelli of Pittsford, N.Y.), he anointed Cameron Peck as the 2008 U.S. Junior Amateur champion — even before Peck, a 17-year-old from Olympia, Wash., had played his second match.
Good call, Mr. Whitsett.
Peck didn't disappoint, especially when he got to the 36-hole final match at Shoal Creek in Alabama against Evan Beck, 17, of Virginia Beach, Va., a relative unknown in the championship field.
In the 36-hole Peck-and-Beck final, the third-seeded Peck won six of the first eight holes and went on to claim the title by 10 and 8 — the largest margin of victory in the event's 61-year history. "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 of my life."
Peck won three of the first six holes on the 7,251-yard, par-72 layout with birdies. He made five birdies in the first 18 holes and stood 6 up at the break. He also one-putted eight times, making nearly everything from 15 feet and closer. Beck, meanwhile, won just two holes out of the 28 it took for Peck to hoist the trophy.
"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 final and that's pretty good. I was putting great until today, but I had only one birdie today and that doesn't do it."
Beck struggled off the tee at the start
of the day, hitting just two of the first seven fairways. Conversely, Peck's aim off the tee was nearly perfect all day, even when hitting in the rain that fell steadily during the afternoon.
The medalist for the stroke-play portion of the championship was 15-year-old Jorge Fernandez Valdes of Argentina, who was at 5-under-par 139 (he would lose to Andrew Yun of Tacoma, Wash., in the round of 16). The cut for match play was 8-over-par 152.
The Junior Amateur was the fourth national championship held at Shoal Creek, and the first since 1990. Shoal Creek had previously hosted the 1986 U.S. Amateur and the 1984 and 1990 PGA Championships. This article first appeared in the 2008 Championship Annual, a special publication mailed to USGA Members in November.