Alker grabs lead at suspended Utah Championship

Steven Alker fired a 10-under 61 on Saturday and grabbed the Utah Championship lead before the third round was suspended due to inclement weather.

Alker sits at 17-under-par 196 through 54 holes at Willow Creek Country Club, which was beset by inclement weather, leading to a pair of delays before play was eventually called for the day.

On Friday, Chad Collins grabbed a 3-stroke lead with a sparkling 60, but he was even-par through nine holes and alone in second place at 16-under when the third round was suspended.

"It's been a long day," Collins said in a televised interview during the second weather delay. "It's not quite what I had in mind ... but it's Mother Nature. You have to deal with it. It's tough. It's just one of those days [where] you have to grind it out."

Richard S. Johnson shot 63 and moved into a share of third place at 15-under alongside Shane Bertsch, Roger Sloan, Ashley Hall, Alex Cejka and Adam Hadwin, who will all return to the course Sunday at 10 a.m. ET to finish their rounds.

Alker opened with three straight birdies, then carded back-to-back pars before another hat trick of successive birdies moved the Kiwi to 13-under for the tournament.

Around the turn, Alker parred a pair before picking up a shot at the 12th. After another par, he reeled off three straight birdies to grab the lead at 17-under. He parred out to stay there.

Collins had yet to tee off when the first weather delay, of nearly two hours, struck. He was even through four third-round holes when Alker took the lead.

A birdie at the fifth briefly moved Collins to 17-under, but he stumbled to a bogey at the next. Another birdie at the seventh again had Collins tied for the lead, but he bogeyed the ninth shortly before play was again called.

"I hit some poor shots around the green, which is kind of unlike me, but there's a lot of golf left," he continued.

NOTES: Alker has two career Tour victories. His best finish on tour this season is a tie for 17th at the Brasil Classic ... Collins is a two-time Tour winner. His best finish on the circuit this year is a tie for third at the Mid-Atlantic Championship.