Collins Takes Over Top Spot in Miami


2006 Miccosukee ChampionshipMIAMI, Fla. -- Chad Collins fired a 5-under 66 on Saturday to take the lead after three rounds at the Miccosukee Championship, the final full-field event before the Nationwide Tour Championship.
Collins posted six birdies and a bogey and stands at 13-under-par 200 for a one-shot lead over Tim O'Neal.
His tee time was pushed back more than two hours because of heavy thunderstorms that struck early in the morning and allowed only 45 minutes of play from the outset.
But once Collins got moving, he got moving.
During a near flawless round, the 2005 Henrico County Open winner missed just one fairway and one green -- the kind of accuracy, of course, he is always trying to attain.
'The less stress and pressure I put on myself by not hitting it in the rough or missing greens, the better chance I'm going to have to win,' said Collins.
A winner during his rookie season last year, Collins is looking for another taste. He is currently 26th on the money list and has finished in the top-6 five times this season.
Collins has also missed 13 cuts.
'Winning last year was a huge, huge bonus because I proved to myself I could do it,' said Collins. 'I've been playing pretty well in the last month and had some high finishes, but I just haven't been able to piece four rounds together.'
If he wins on Sunday, Collins would be guaranteed a spot on the PGA TOUR next season as a top-20 money winner -- a potentially career-changing development for the 28 year old.
'I didn't look at the leaderboards today and I'm going to do the same thing tomorrow,' said Collins. 'I think that keeps me more even-keel and calm and not stressed about being in the lead.'
O'Neal, a third round co-leader, had a 3-under 68 on Saturday, forced to scramble for pars while hitting just six fairways and seven greens. He was saved by his putting, and now stands at 12-under 201.
'I played okay,' said O'Neal. 'I guess I putted okay, too.'
Gary Christian, who shared the third-round lead with O'Neal, had a 2-under 69 and was joined in third place by Bryce Molder (67) at 11-under 202.
Four other players will begin the final round at Miccosukee Golf and Country Club within five shots of Collins' lead. At the end of the tournament, the top 62 players on the money list will receive entry into the Nationwide Tour Championship in two weeks.
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