Q: Talk about your round.
COLLINS: I kept hitting greens and kept making putts. I made a 50-footer on 14 (fifth hole of the day). I was on the front and the pin was on the back left. That was probably 50 feet, 60 feet. I just played pretty solid all day. I hit some fairly close shots. Then obviously made some putts even I was surprised I made.
Q: That was the key, your putting?
COLLINS: Yeah, obviously. If you’re going to shoot a low round, you gotta be putting well. And that’s what I did. You gotta hit the ball well to give yourself opportunities, but the putter is the main thing on a low round like that.
Q: Once you got to 11-under with six to play, what was your mindset?
COLLINS: Actually I forgot that par was 71. 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. It kind of gave me new life. I felt like I didn’t do it because I made par on the previous hole. Then it kind of gave me new life because I knew I had an opportunity on the last hole. I gave myself an OK opportunity on the last hole. I just couldn’t get another to fall, from 30 feet, whatever it was.
Q: Lost perhaps in all this 59 talk is the fact you’re the tournament leader. Your thoughts going into the weekend with the lead.
COLLINS: I’m excited. It kind of reminds me of Maryland (Mid-Atlantic Championship) a few weeks back, being out there near the lead and tied for the lead and playing with Michael Putnam the last round being tied for the lead. It’s where you want to be. It’s what you dream about doing. Having an opportunity to win, obviously there’s a lot of golf to be played. I just hope I have an opportunity come Sunday with a few holes left.
Q: The saying is it’s hard to follow a great round with another great round. True?
COLLINS: Absolutely. Expectations, I guess. It’s hard to block it out. It’s probably mentally and physically impossible to block out a round like that tomorrow. But I’m going to try my best, try to shoot as low a score as I can. There are a lot of birdie holes out here. There are a lot of birdie opportunities, a lot of par 5s. We’ll see what happens. But, yeah, it’s definitely difficult to back up a low round like that.
Q: A lot of people here probably don’t know you. How do you describe yourself? Who are you?
COLLINS: I’m just a small-town country boy that likes to fish and hunt as much as this, if not more. I’ve had a club in my hands, thanks to my dad, ever since I was born. I’ve been doing this professionally since ’01 since graduating from Methodist University. It’s everybody’s dream to play on the PGA TOUR. I’ve had that opportunity three times, and I’d love to get back there.
Q: What’s your low nine-hole score?
COLLINS: Twenty-nine, and I’ve done that one time, at my home course, Clover Meadows, an 18-hole public course where I live about three miles out in the country, Cloverdale, Indiana.
Q: Can you ever imagine shooting a 27?
COLLINS: No, not on a tournament course, in tournament competition. It’s hard to do. It’s not like this course is easy, by no means. But we have some altitude, so the ball goes pretty far. The course is in phenomenal shape, and the views are spectacular. The course back home that I play is a lot easier than this course. So to do it on a lot tougher golf course is special for me. I’ll probably never shoot a score like that ever again on nine holes. Pretty nice.
Q: What’s your mindset over the next two days?
COLLINS: Try to give myself as many opportunities as I can, to hit as many fairways and greens as I can. Try to free up the putter and try to keep making putts. I’m sure it’s going to be difficult mentally to try to do that. But I’ve been there before. I’ve won before out here. There’s a lot of golf to be played. I want to continue what I’ve been doing. Today was obviously, I didn’t think was in the cards for doing something like that. I kind of got blindsided, I guess you could say. I don’t go out there, at least I don’t, and say, Hey, I’m going to shoot 60 or I need to shoot 63 or whatever. I think it just adds more pressure to the table than what needs to be. It was just one of those days that kept rolling along, I kept making putts, then I go to the next hole and try to make another one. Then try to make the next shot and try to make it your best. That opening nine was, I don’t know, it was special.