(Reuters) – Journeyman Chad Collins flirted with golf’s magic number before settling for an 11-under-par 60 in the second round at the Barbasol Championship in Alabama on Friday.
Collins reeled off six consecutive birdies from the 11th hole, and walked to the 17th tee needing one more to record only the 10th sub-60 round on the PGA Tour.
He almost made a hole-in-one at the 200-yard par-three 17th, his ball landing in front of the pin and grazing the edge of the cup as it rolled past, before trickling 12 feet beyond.
But he missed a 12-foot birdie putt and then drove into rough at the par-four 18th at the Robert Trent Jones Trail Grand National course in Opelika and could not get his approach anywhere near the hole.
“It was an awesome day,” Collins told PGATour.com after posting a 15-under 127 total for a four-stroke halfway lead over fellow Americans Grayson Murray and Cameron Tringale.
“I gave (shooting 59) a run. I’m not too disappointed at all about 60.
“You’ve got to make a lot of putts to shoot rounds like that. You’ve got to hit it well too and I did both of those. It’s a nice breath of fresh air …to be in this situation come the weekend.”
Collins, 38, is making the 180th start of his PGA Tour career, with a third place his best finish. Coming off 11 missed cuts in his past 12 starts, he seemed an unlikely candidate to shoot 60.
“It’s been a struggle this year up until this point but to see myself in this situation is nice and I’m really looking forward to the weekend,” he said.
“I’ve gained a little bit of confidence ball-striking wise and I’ve gained in confidence with the putter…
“It’s a grind with the heat and a tough course if you’re not striking the ball well. You’ve just got to hang in there and plug along.”
Jim Furyk has the lowest ever score on tour, a 58, and there have been eight rounds of 59.
(Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; editing by John Stonestreet/Peter Rutherford)