With a stern wind coming off Puget Sound at 20-25 mph in his face — Lacey’s Cameron Peck pulled out driver on the 12th tee at Chambers Bay Golf Course.
To him, it was the right thing to do, even though any miss-hit would not only invite trouble, it could let off all the steam he had built up.
But he stood up and sent a screaming drive on a perfect line 304 yards uphill.
He looked up at a small gathering. No applause.
“That has to be good,” he mumbled, picking up his tee.
He had no idea how good.
He rolled in a 6-foot putt for his second eagle of the round and grabbed firm control of the 87th Washington State Men’s Amateur championship Wednesday in University Place. His second consecutive 3-under-par 69 gives him an 8-shot lead heading into Thursday’s final round.
Peck, the Timberline High School graduate who has played four years at Texas A&M, is at 6-under 138. His closest competitor is Moses Lake’s Cameron Whittle (72) — at 2-over 146.
Peck, Whittle and Fircrest’s Ryan Earl (147) will be in the final group at 10:50 a.m. Thursday.
“I like having that big of a lead,” Peck said.
It didn’t start that way. A double bogey at No. 7 left him at 4 over for the second round, costing all of his first-round lead.
Then a blistering hot stretch started with a 10-foot eagle put at No. 8.
On the next hole, the downhill par 3, his tee shot came to rest near a sprinkler head. He got relief, and made a 30-footer for birdie to regain the lead over Whittle, a Whitworth University golfer who was 3 under through 13 holes before faltering.
Peck birdied the 11th, then gambled at No. 12.
A two-putt birdie from 28 feet at No. 13 helped.
So did a 14-foot birdie at No. 14, a long par-4 playing into the wind. That capped a stretch of 8-under golf in seven holes.
A three-time honorable mention All-American for the Aggies, Peck surprisingly hasn’t won a tournament since the 2008 U.S. Junior Amateur at Shoal Creek Golf Club in Alabama.
“I thought maybe I’d win a couple times (in college), but I played solid golf … and not a lot of people can say that,” Peck said. “Overall, I think it has been a pretty successful career — not as good as I thought it would be, but I played pretty good.”Todd Milles: 253-597-8442 Todd.firstname.lastname@example.org blogs.thenewstribune.com/golf/ @ManyHatsMilles