David Duval's game is getting near where it was a year ago, when he, not Tiger Woods, was the best player in the world.

"It's getting close. I think just a few subtle things that can wear away pretty quick," Duval said after a 4-under-par round of 66 yesterday left him tied with Tom Lehman for the lead in the $3.5 million Williams World Challenge in Scottsdale, Ariz.

Lehman shot 67.

The two were six shots ahead of Woods, Vijay Singh and Paul Lawrie in the event featuring 12 of the top players in the world competing for the winner's share of $1 million. The final round is today.

While Duval appears ready to return to the form that produced four PGA victories before the Masters last year and a No. 1 world ranking, Woods has struggled with the desert Grayhawk Golf Club course.

After making a run at the lead with three birdies on the front nine, Woods shot 39 on the back for a 1-over 71.

"I just never felt comfortable and didn't hit the ball well at all on the back," Woods said. "Mentally, I feel sharp, but physically, I'm not where I want to be at."


U.S. Stuns Sweden

Barrett Heisten broke a tie with a fluke power-play goal, and the United States went on to upset Sweden, 5-1, in the quarterfinals of the World Junior Hockey Championship in Stockholm.

Defenseman Jordan Leopold missed on his shot, but the puck bounced back from the plexiglas behind the Swedish goal. Heisten, left unchecked in front, tapped it past goalie Jonas Fransson with 3 minutes 42 seconds left in the second period, snapping a 1-1 tie.

The goal was the second of the tournament for Heisten, a University of Maine forward.

Next for the United States in the semifinals on Monday is the Czech Republic, which defeated Kazakhstan, 6-3. Canada, which beat Switzerland, 8-3, will face Russia, a 4-0 winner over Finland.


Kenyans Win in Rome

Kenyans Josephat Kiprono, the fifth-fastest marathoner, and Tegla Loroupe, the women's world record holder, won Rome's inaugural New Year's Day marathon.

Kiprono, winner of the 1999 Berlin Marathon, completed the race in 2 hours 8 minutes 27 seconds. Italy's Giacomo Leone, winner of the 1996 New York City Marathon, was second in 2:08:41.

Kiprono and Leone ran together for most of the final 6.2 miles, before Kiprono pulled ahead. They embraced at the finish line, in front of the Roman Forum.

"It was a passionate race," Leone said. "Kiprono was terrific, but I didn't do bad either."

Loroupe started strong but struggled through the final miles. She slowed considerably, finishing in 2:32:04, about 12 minutes slower than her record.

Pope John Paul II blessed the approximately 4,500 competitors from his window overlooking St. Peter's Square.

Ski Jumping

Austrian Soars to Win

Austria's Andreas Widhoelzl won the second of the Four Hills Ski Jumping World Cup events by soaring 121 meters on his second leap in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany.

Widhoelzl's victory ended the run of Germany's Martin Schmitt, who had swept the last three World Cup events, including the Four Hills opener at Oberstdorf.

Widhoelzl finished with 241.70 points after a first jump of 113 meters left him third. It was his 10th World Cup victory.

Schmitt, whose popularity in Germany helped draw 35,000 spectators, had to settle for 11th after jumps of 110.5 and 112.5.