In the waning days before Cameron Peck turns the career page to “professional golfer,” he is making sure his time as an amateur is memorable.
Peck, 22, a former star at Timberline High School fresh from his senior golf season at Texas A&M University, has won two major Northwest amateur tournaments this summer and played deep into the match-play rounds of the U.S. Amateur Public Links.
“I’m playing great golf right now,” Peck said recently.
He narrowly missed earning a spot in Monday’s U.S. Amateur Championship in sectional qualifying at Centennial Golf Club in Medford, Ore.
Peck shot 70 in the first round, two off the lead, then came back with a 68 in the afternoon to finish tied for fourth, four shots behind the leader and one shot out of earning an alternate spot in the Amateur.
Peck said he expects to turn pro before the Web.com Tour qualifying tournament this fall.
Whenever he transitions to the professional ranks, Peck, the 2008 U.S. Junior Amateur champion as a 17-year-old,
will have a 2013 summer under his belt that builds on his résumé as one of the top amateurs in the Northwest.
Peck survived a third-round 78 to win the Washington State Amateur, June 18-20 at Chambers Bay, then upped the ante with a victory in the match-play Pacific Northwest Amateur, July 6-11 at Oregon’s Bandon Dunes.
The following week, Peck qualified for the match-play finals at the Public Links at Laurel Hill in Virginia and progressed to the round of 16 before bowing out.
This summer is a different story than last when doctors in Texas ordered a strict no-golf regimen while he rested and rehabbed an ailing back. Peck, the Aggies’ low-stroke leader and MVP, shut down his junior season just before the NCAA postseason.
This year, he came back rusty, he said, but missed no tournaments and played pain-free as the Aggies earned sixth place in the NCAA championships.
Later this month Peck will be back in College Station, Texas, to start of fall classes at A&M, hoping to complete the semester worth of credits he needs for his degree in agriculture.
Also looming is the multi-stage qualifying tournaments, which under a new format this year will award all of its privileges to the Web.com Tour, the top developmental level of the PGA Tour.
He looks ahead with confidence to the prospect of playing for pay.
“I’m just playing real solid right now,” Peck said. “It also helps that a lot of my friends that I played with over the years are playing really well (as pros).
“There’s no reason I can’t go out there and play well, too.”
Those friends include Andres Gonzales, from Olympia’s Capital High, now playing on the PGA Tour; the Putnam brothers of Tacoma, Michael and Andrew; and the current phenom of the big tour, Jordan Spieth, who turned 20 on July 27.
Spieth won the U.S. Junior Amateur in 2009 as a 15-year-old, one year after Peck claimed the title, and won the Junior Am again in 2011 at Bremerton’s Gold Mountain complex.
Spieth turned pro in December, and in mid-July he topped the field at the John Deere Classic to become the first teenager to win a tour event in 82 years. Then, he acquitted himself well at the British Open last month in Scotland.
“It’s pretty awesome that he went out there and won,” Peck said of Spieth. “It just takes confidence. You have to believe in your game. Spieth has always been good at that, always believed in his game.
“I’m feeling really good about my game right now.”