The round of his life

KEN WIEBE -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 6:46 AM ET

Garth Collings is tough enough to keep up with on a regular day, let alone when he comes up with the best round of his life and subsequent course record.

There was plenty of good news for Collings yesterday morning as he produced a 10-under 62 at Steinbach Fly-In Golf Club to take the opening round lead of the 54-hole Manitoba Men's Mid-Amateur Championship.

The Breezy Bend member made 11 birdies and just one bogey during a round he won't soon forget.

"That's the lowest round of my life, by two shots," Collings said in a telephone interview shortly after the round. "I shot 64 a bunch of times, but 62 is the best. It was kind of funny. When I got to 10-under after 16, I was out of my happy zone, so to speak. I was having a hard time swinging for the last few holes. Ten under just didn't sound right, it was too far (under par). Luckily, I squirted out a couple of pars."

Ball striking hasn't been a problem for Collings, who finished tied for seventh at the Manitoba Men's Amateur Championship last week, but his putting stroke has let him down of late.

IMPRESSIVE SPEED

That wasn't the case yesterday as Collings needed only 26 putts during the round.

"I knew the putter was coming around, but last week it wouldn't go in for me," said Collings. "Today everything seemed to fall in. I had a couple of 25 to 30 footers. They rolled in when I needed them to."

The score itself wasn't the only impressive part of the day.

After struggling with the slow pace of play during the amateur, Collings and playing partner Bruce North of Carman, who were first off the tee yesterday, needed only two hours and 45 minutes to complete the 18 holes.

"We were moving along pretty well, but not rushing or anything," said Collings, who actually called back to report how quick the round was.

The bad news for Collings is that he'll be in the final group today and is likely headed towards a four to five hour day.

"I'll need to be a little more patient," said Collings, who won his third consecutive Saskatchewan Mid-Amateur title earlier this month.

Going into the second round, Collings carries an eight-stroke lead over North, Dean Stowell of Transcona, Keith Fawcett of Selkirk and Helmut Dahl of the Province Golf Club in B.C.

The previous low round recorded during tournament play at the Steinbach Fly-In Golf Club was a 64.


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