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Collins takes over Ohio Amateur lead

SYLVANIA -- Even on a bad day things ended up pretty good for Justin Collins.

The Ohio State Buckeyes senior-to-be golfer from Ironton slumped to a round of 72 at the 96th annual Ohio Amateur Golf Tournament's third round Thursday, but he still managed to take a one-stroke lead.

Collins opened with rounds of 69 and 67 before a par 72 on Thursday amidst the swirling winds and tough greens gave his a 208 total. He held a one stroke lead over Michael Kelley of Westerville and Jason Gerken of Logan, each at 209.

''I sort of limpted in with a 72. I started out good,'' said Collins. ''The three-putts were wearing on me a little bit. I kept it together, though. I got around in even par. I didn't lose any ground. It could have been a lot worse.''

Collins, who helped Ironton High School win three straight state championship and earned a state medalist title along the way, shared the lead with Gerken after the second round. But Gerken had a 73 and fell one stroke back on the 6,555-yard Par 72 Sylvania Country Club course.

John Moheyer of Lima is fourth at 210 and Michael Sabo of St. Louis had a 211 to place fifth. Four other golfers were tied for sixth place at 212 including Ohio State's David Bietermen.

Eight Ohio State golfers were alive during the third round. Zach Doran is 10th at 213, Jason Oien 13th (214), Doug Wade 16th (215), and Adam Fluty is 33rd (221). Kevin Hall (225) and Scott Miller (228) failed to make the final day cut.

Collins took over sole possession of first place despite three-putting the eighth and 10th holes.

''I hit the wrong club so many times,'' said Collins after finishing his round. ''I never got the speed of the greens right.''

Although they are only two strokes apart and battling for the title, Collins and Moheyer have become friends ever since going head-to-head in high school five years ago for medalist honors.

''He comes to

the Ohio State-Michigan football game and I'll go there and see a football game or maybe a basketball game,'' Collins said. Jim Walker/The Ironton Tribune