Woods machine just keeps rolling

Tiger Woods had yet another record in his sights when he resumed the NEC World Championship with a one-stroke lead here yesterday. The world No 1's opening 64 was his 28th successive round of par or better on the US Tour. That equalled the mark of Mark O'Meara in 1992 and Craig Stadler in 1997, so as long as he did not score 71 or worse on his return to Firestone Woods would claim another first.

Tiger Woods had yet another record in his sights when he resumed the NEC World Championship with a one-stroke lead here yesterday. The world No 1's opening 64 was his 28th successive round of par or better on the US Tour. That equalled the mark of Mark O'Meara in 1992 and Craig Stadler in 1997, so as long as he did not score 71 or worse on his return to Firestone Woods would claim another first.

He has, in fact, had 32 successive rounds of par and better since an opening 73 in the Byron Nelson Classic in May, but four of those were on the European Tour. Woods is a remarkable 118 under par for those 32 rounds and has already set record US Tour earnings for the season of nearly $6.7million (£4.43m), more than twice second-placed Phil Mickelson.

Another million dollars could be his tomorrow in the élite 37-man tournament, but despite his six-under-par start Woods has not got clean away. Jim Furyk was only one behind and then came a six-stroke group on four under, containing the British trio of Lee Westwood, Phil Price and Darren Clarke, Paraguay's Carlos Franco and the Americans Justin Leonard and Mickelson.

The first prize is almost twice what Price has earned all year, in his best-ever season in Europe. The 33-year-old from Pontypridd finished 110th on the Order of Merit only five years ago, but is 13th on the money list with £372,000 after runners-up finishes in Portugal and at the Benson and Hedges International. If he does win tomorrow he would leap to fourth in the table with over £1m. His fellow Briton Colin Montgomerie resumed joint 24th of the 37 players on one over, seven adrift of Woods.

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