Collins shoots 60, grabs lead in Utah

Chad Collins had golf's magic number in his sights Friday at the Utah Championship, but he closed with six straight pars and settled for a 11-under 60 and the second-round lead.

Collins started on the 10th tee and went out in a Tour record-tying 27, notching seven birdies and an eagle over that blistering stretch. After a par at the first, the 2000 Indiana State Amateur champion carded back-to-back birdies from the second to reach 11-under for his round. Needing one more birdie for the elusive 59, Collins instead parred out to finish 36 holes at 16-under 126, three strokes ahead of first-round co-leader Brian Prouty, who shot 66 at Willow Creek Country Club.

Jamie Lovemark fired a 62 to join Prouty and Adam Hadwin (65) in second place at 13-under 129 through 36 holes.

Ashley Hall, Alex Cejka and Peter Tomasulo also carded 62s to move into a tie for fifth alongside Ben Martin (63) and Kevin Foley (66) at minus-12.

"I kept hitting greens and kept making putts," said Collins, a two-time Tour winner whose last victory came at the 2009 Miccosukee Championship. "I just played pretty solid all day. I hit some fairly close shots. Then obviously made some putts even I was surprised I made."

Collins jumped 14 places in the standings courtesy of his stellar round, which fittingly began with a birdie at the 10th.

A par followed at the 11th, but Collins responded with five straight birdies, highlighted by a 50-footer at the 14th.

"I was on the front and the pin was on the back left," he said. "That was probably 50 feet, 60 feet."

At the par-5 17th, Collins knocked his lengthy approach within eight feet and drained the eagle effort. He then bent home a 12-footer for birdie at No. 18 to make the turn in 27.

"It's hard to do," said Collins of tying the 9-hole tour record. "It's not like this course is easy, by no means. But we have some altitude, so the ball goes pretty far."

Around the turn, Collins parred the first before notching another birdie at the second. At the par-5 third, he left his eagle putt inches short and settled for yet another birdie.

If that eagle effort went in, Collins could have parred out to shoot 59, but instead he needed a birdie over his final six holes.

Four pars followed before Collins found the sand with his approach at the eighth. He saved par there and found the front edge of the green in two at the par-4 ninth. A lengthy birdie putt remained, but Collins missed wide right, settling for 60 and a 3-stroke lead.

"Actually I forgot that par was 71," he said. "With two holes to go, I thought I needed to birdie both of them, the last two holes. I guess when your mind is elsewhere, I was thinking about making birdies and making quality shots and I forgot that par was 71.

"I hit a terrible 7-iron on eight, my second-to-last hole and put it in the bunker. I had a really tough bunker shot and was able to get that up and down. Then Marco (Dawson) said, 'You need to get one more. Let's get one more.' And I was like, 'Yeah, that's right. Par is 71.' It kind of boosted me up again ... I gave myself an OK opportunity on the last hole. I just couldn't get another to fall."

NOTES: Notah Begay III (1998 Dominion Open) and Doug Dunakey (1998 Miami Valley Open) also shot 27 over nine holes on the Tour ... Collins is the 19th player to shoot 60 on the Tour ... His best finish on the Tour this season is a tie for third at the Mid-Atlantic Championship in June ... His other win on the circuit came at the 2005 Henrico County Open ... The cut line fell at 6-under, the lowest in event history.