Tiger Woods has no intention of coasting through the rest of the year.
Rested and determined to complete what already has been a terrific season on a high note, Woods shot a 66 yesterday to trail co-leaders Rocco Mediate and Brad Faxon by one stroke after the opening round of Disney's National Car Rental Classic in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
Playing for the first time since the Ryder Cup a month ago and ending a layoff of seven weeks from 72-hole tournaments, the world's top-ranked player fashioned a 6-under-par score with seven birdies and one bogey in soggy conditions on the Palm Course at Disney World.
With victories in two of the last three tournaments this season, Woods can become the first $6 million man in golf. He's won five PGA events in 1999, including his second major title, and isn't ready to rest on his success.
"I want to end on a good note. It's been a great year. I've won six times worldwide, and I've come close in other majors. I just want to keep playing well and hopefully chalk up a couple more victories."
A late-afternoon downpour held up play on the Palm and Magnolia courses for nearly two hours. Forty-three players were still trying to complete the round when play was suspended for the night.
Vijay Singh joined Woods at 6 under. Steve Elkington and Mike Springer, who didn't finish, were 6 under through 16 and 13 holes, respectively.
John Huston, Bob Tway and Scott Verplank were among a group at 67 to trail by two strokes. Hal Sutton and Ernie Els were among those bunched at 4-under 68.
Mediate's round consisted of five birdies and an eagle on the Magnolia course. Faxon played the Palm, finishing with seven birdies and no bogeys for a share of the lead.
Although Mediate said he putted as well as he has in a long time, he missed from inside 10 feet on each of the last three holes.
Woods began his round with three birdies and a bogey on the back nine of the Palm course. He added four birdies on the front, including a 60-foot chip on No. 2, to close on the leaders.
Besides playing well, a highlight of the day for Woods was being paired in a group for the first time with former college teammate Notah Begay III, who shot 70.
"It was great. It was a lot of fun getting to talk to him about his two victories this year," Woods said. "It was great to relive some of the old days."
* NIKE TOUR: In Dothan, Ala., Jeff Gove and Bob Heintz shot 4-under-par 68s to share the first-round lead of the season-ending tour championship. Richard Zokol, Marco Gortana and Kelly Gibson were at 69. Casey Martin, fighting for a PGA Tour playing card, was five shots back at 73. Martin entered the $400,000 event at Highland Oaks 12th on the Nike money list. The top 15 on the list automatically earn exempt status to play on the PGA Tour next year.
* EUROPE: In Knokke, Belgium, South African Retief Goosen overcame miserable conditions and shot a 6-under 65 for a two-shot lead after the opening round of the Belgacom Open. Defending champion Lee Westwood was eight strokes back after a 73, damaging his chance for the year-end European No. 1 ranking. John Daly opened with a 71.