Just when Vijay Singh thinks he can't play better, he does. Just when it seems he can't do much more during his Tiger Woods-like season, he does that, too.
Singh is first on the money list, first in the world rankings and, again, first on the PGA Tour leader board. Singh, turning the post-majors schedule into a weekly highlights show, shot an 8-under-par 64 yesterday for a three-shot lead in the first round of the 84 Lumber Classic in Farmington, Pa.
Singh can surpass Woods's season money record of $9.1 million in 2000 by winning the $4.2 million event, and it's evident the very competitive Singh knows it. With seven tournament victories, Singh is closing in on Woods's best season of nine wins.
The way Singh is playing, with four rounds of 65 or lower in his last five tournaments, he agrees it would almost be impossible to play much better.
"I'm driving the ball the way I want it," Singh said after a bogey-free round that included an eagle and six birdies. "I don't know if I can hit it any better. My playing is pretty good. I'm doing the same thing over and over again."
If he means winning, he's right. He is going for his fifth victory in six tournaments, including the PGA Championship, and his third this month. He won the Deutsche Bank Championship and Canadian Open on consecutive weekends before sitting out last week.
"Today I was pretty close," he said. "You can't really say that because you know, each day is different. I'm swinging the club as good as I think I can."
Singh leads Richard S. Johnson, Pat Perez, Cameron Beckman, Ben Curtis and Robert Allenby by three shots, with Kevin Na three back through No. 15 when play was stopped by darkness.
* LPGA: Christina Kim shot a 7-under 64 and held a one-stroke lead over Rachel Teske after the first round of the LPGA Longs Drugs Challenge in Auburn, Calif.
Kim didn't have a bogey on an almost windless day at The Ridge Golf Club, a 6,235-yard layout that is a new venue for the nine-year-old tournament.
* EUROPE: Ryder Cup star Colin Montgomerie had a birdie and eagle on the last two holes, shooting a 1-under 71 that left him four strokes behind the leaders after the first round of the Heritage in Woburn, England.
Graeme McDowell, Jose Manuel Lara and Nick O'Hern were in front with 67s to seize the spotlight from Europe's victorious Ryder Cup players. David Howell also was at 71 while Padraig Harrington had a 72. Ian Poulter shot a 77.
* NOTES: Masters champion Phil Mickelson withdrew from next week's American Express Championship in Ireland for personal reasons, the PGA Tour said. . . .
Craig Stadler and Hale Irwin were added to the U.S. team for November's UBS Cup competition.