Threat of school sparks Skold to set pace

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The Independent Online

The Swede, who spoilt an even better day by three-putting the last for his only bogey, stands 126th on the Order of Merit. At the end of the Majorca Classic in two weeks' time only the leading 115 keep their cards and the 2001 tour school winner needs a top-two finish to lift himself to safety.

While Skold was collecting six birdies five other players could not keep a double-figure score off their cards. The former English amateur champions Mark Sanders and James Heath kicked off their rounds by taking 11 and 10 respectively at the long 10th.

The Italian Marco Bernardini had a 10 there as well, while England's Sam Walker took 10 on the par-four sixth and the Paraguayan Marco Ruiz did the same at the 453-yard ninth.

For the 42-year-olds Mark Roe and Santiago Luna, being paired together was fitting - both were playing their 500th European Tour event. Roe started birdie-eagle, pitching in for a two at the 387-yard 11th, but then three-putted three times for a 69. Luna, 129th on the money list against Roe's 117th and therefore in even more dire need of a big week, shot 70.

As the day's play drew to a close Skold was one ahead of the South African Titch Moore, who still had three holes to go, while England's John Bickerton, the New Zealander Stephen Scahill and Argentina's Andrew Romero stood three-under out on the course.

l In San Francisco, Tiger Woods made a flying start to his bid to claim an 11th win in 21 World Golf Championships events. Woods birdied his opening hole in the American Express Championship at Harding Park. The world No 1 shared an early lead with five others including the world No 3 Phil Mickelson, the Australian Adam Scott and Sweden's Henrik Stenson.

John Daly had moved to one-under with a birdie on the 10th, but dropped back with a bogey on the 11th.