Collins had nine birdies in a spotless round at Glenmaura, setting a career-low scoring record on the Nationwide Tour and taking his first 18-hole lead in two years.
Jeff Curl, Chris Anderson and Jim McGovern were two shots back at 7-under 64, with Ricky Barnes and Chris Nallen sitting at 65.
Since switching to a new putter and driver six weeks ago, the 28-year-old Collins has posted five straight top-20 finishes, including three top-10s.
'I made the change and it turned everything around,' he said Thursday. 'It's been a huge boost of confidence since [the Peek'n Peak Classic]. It's hard to beat confidence in this game. Now, I'm just going to try to keep this thing rolling.'
While setting a personal scoring record, Collins also came within a shot of tying the tournament record. It was the lowest first round in tournament history.
He birdied five of his first seven holes, seven of his first 10 and eight of his first 12 -- needing only 13 putts during that span.
His 29 on the front nine matched the tournament record.
'My putter was hot today. It was one of those days where if it didn't go in, it was going to be close,' Collins said. 'When you have as much confidence in your putter as I do right now, it frees up a lot of your other clubs. It allows you to be more aggressive.'
Curl was 9 under through 16 holes, but he hit into a greenside bunker at No. 8 -- his 17th hole -- and made bogey. A Monday qualifier and the son of PGA TOUR veteran Rod Curl, he also bogeyed his final hole to fall two back.
There were 24 players within five shots of the lead.