U.S. Junior Am: Peck leads Beck by six after first 18

SHOAL CREEK, Ala. (July 26, 2008)--Cameron Peck, 17, of Olympia, Wash., wasted no time at all Saturday morning in letting Evan Beck, 17, of Virginia Beach, Va., know he meant business. He won the first two holes of the 36-hole championship final match of the U.S. Junior Amateur at Shoal Creek golf course and holds a 6-up lead after the first 18 holes.

Peck went birdie-par while Beck was struggling to hit fairways early. He won four more holes before Beck found a way to stop the bleeding. Peck won a sloppily-played fourth hole and then went birdie-birdie to take holes five and six. He added a 12-footer for a winning birdie on the par-3 eighth. None of his birdies was from more than 15 feet.

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.”

Play resumed for the second 18 holes at 2 p.m. (CDT).

Beck settled down and finally won a couple of holes. He took the 10th with a par when Peck’s approach on the par 4 landed in the water hazard to the right of the green. He made a winning 10-footer for birdie on the 11th hole, his only birdie of the morning round.

But, just when it appeared Beck was making a run, Peck regrouped and won two of the final three holes of the morning round to climb back to 6 up.

He stole the 16th hole when Beck muffed a chip from behind the green and took bogey. Peck earned the next hole when stuck his wedge approach on the par-5 17th to within 18 inches.

For the opening round, Peck wielded a hot putter. He one-putted eight times and was the equivalent of one over par. He hit 11 fairways and 10 greens. Beck’s errant driver cost him early and he wound up the morning with nine hit fairways and seven hit greens.

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.

--Courtesy USGA

ABOUT THE U.S. Junior Amateur

While it is not the oldest competition, the U.S. Junior Amateur is considered the premier junior competition, having been around since 1948. The event is open to male golfers who have not reached their 19th birthday prior to the close of competition and whose USGA Handicap Index does not exceed 6.4. The U.S. Junior is one of 13 national championship conducted annually by the USGA, 10 of which are strictly for amateurs.

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