Cameron Peck, No. 3 in the Golfweek/Titleist Junior Rankings, will play in his second PGA Tour event this week.
The 17-year-old gained entry into the St. Jude Classic in Memphis, Tenn., after being named the 2008 Rolex Junior Player of the Year. Peck’s first PGA Tour start came at last year’s Wyndham Championship after he won the AJGA FootJoy Invitational by a six-shot margin. He fired a pair of 71s at the Wyndham to miss the cut and tie for 122nd.
“I think what I learned mostly is how to keep calm,” Peck said of the Wyndham. “I got to see how (the pros) play and see what they do differently than me, and I think with that knowledge that I can go and play better in this tournament than in the Wyndham.”
In the past year, Peck has finished high school, signed with Texas A&M, which won this year’s NCAA Championship, and is coming off a 13th-place finish at the AJGA Thunderbird International Junior last month in Scottsdale, Ariz. Peck, of Olympia, Wash., also has been working on his game.
“It hasn’t been that great of a winter up here in Washington so I’m really getting the pieces back together right now, but I’m swinging pretty good so I’m feeling pretty confident going into (the St. Jude),” he said.
While Peck competes among the pros, the top junior golfers in the nation will be at the FootJoy Invitational, trying to become the second player to score a Wyndham exemption by winning the event. Play gets underway at Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro, N.C., June 8. Jordan Spieth, No. 1 in the Golfweek/Titleist Junior Rankings, is in the field.
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REMARKABLE ROUND: Charlie Kern ended the 2008-09 International Junior Golf Tour season with a bang last month. The 15-year-old fired a final-round 61 to win the IJGT’s Tournament of Champions at the Grand Cypress Resort in Orlando, Fla. Kern won the title in the 13-15 age division by two shots after starting the final round with an 11-shot deficit.
Kern carded 11 birdies on the 6,723-yard New Course and had the low round of any age division for the tournament. Kern said the score was a result of solid ball-striking that led to 16 greens hit in regulation.
“I never had that bad shot where you’re like, ‘Oh my gosh, what are you doing?’ ” Kern said. “I kept everything in the fairway, in play and out of the bunkers. I just put everything in reasonable birdie range.”
While birdies on his two opening holes got Kern started on the charge, it was a 15-foot par save on the par-3 fourth hole that kept the early momentum going. Part of the magic, too, came from a tip that Kern’s coach, Dan Rasmussen, gave the night before the final round.
“He gave me a little key the night before my 61 just to look at the back of the hole when you’re putting,” Kern said. “I have to give him a lot of credit for allowing me to shoot such a great score – just one little key really did it for me.”
The 61 shattered Kern’s previous low of 68, shot in the 2008 Washington Junior Golf Association’s state championship, where he finished second. Kern has yet to secure an AJGA victory, but has three IJGT titles. He’ll next appear at the AJGA Heritage Junior Championship in Bluffton, S.C., June 15 before returning home to Washington state to finish the summer with state and local tournaments.
Kern could be reading his press clippings (including a spot in Sports Illustrated’s “Faces In The Crowd”) right now, but he’s doing anything but.
“You almost have to forget about the round and just put it in the memory bank.”
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BIRDIE BLITZ: Jordan Janico of Duluth, Ga., tied the Southeastern Junior Tour’s 36-hole scoring record June 2 with a 13-under 129 at the Huntsville Junior Classic. Janico won by 11 shots.
Janico opened the event with a 9-under 62, which included two stretches of four consecutive birdies. Jordan, who started the first round on No. 10, had a stretch between the two rounds where he made birdie on eight of nine holes (Nos. 5-8 in first round, 1-4 second round).
Janico was able to keep his birdie-fest going for the second round as he fired a 4-under 67 that included seven birdies.
It was Janico’s eighth SJGT title.