Thursday, 09 November 2000
Scotland’s Andrew Coltart produced one of his finest rounds of the season when he recorded a five under par 67 during the first round of the WGC-American Express Championship at Valderrama.

The Ryder Cup star went out in four under par 32 and recorded further birdies at the 12th and 15th to take a share of the early lead alongside America’s Scott Hoch and Zimbabwe’s Nick Price.

This cosmopolitan trio are one shot clear of two other Americans, Chris Perry and Franklin Langham, who both returned 68s, with Ireland’s Padraig Harrington also at four under out on the course.

“To be honest, I’m quite surprised to have shot at 67 round here because in all the times I played in the Volvo Masters I never broke par round here", Coltart said.

“Coming here, I didn’t have two many expectations and maybe that helped because I was nice and relaxed out there.

“I played pretty good tee to green and holed some nice nice putts too which makes a pleasant change.”

Tournament favourite, Tiger Woods, made a promising start to the defence of his title when he birdied three out of his first four holes and but he dropped shots at both the 12th and 13th to be one under through 14 holes.

Elsewhere, the race to win the Volvo Order of Merit looks set to go right to the wire Colin Montgomerie at one under par through 10 holes, Lee Westwood at level at the same stage of his round and Darren Clarke all standing on two over after nine.

Another money list contender, Thomas Bjorn, was two under par through 15 holes but South Africa’s Ernie Els is out of the race, having been forced to retire from the tournaments after nine holes suffering from a back problem.

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