WALNUT, California, April 18 (AFP) - Olympic champion Maurice Greene beat world record holder Tim Montgomery in the 100metres at the Mount San Antonio College Relays as the two sprint giants clashed on Sunday for the first time in almost two years.

Three-time world champion Greene won easily in 10.02sec as Montgomery struggled with his start and a headwind, finishing third in 10.27. American Dwight Phillips placed second in 10.26.

I don't back down from anyone,'' Greene said. I am up for all challenges. This is a good beginning for me. I am on track now.’’

Greene exploded out of the blocks and led from start to finish while running into a headwind of 1.6 metres per second.

He said his time would have been faster had he not shot a glance Montgomery’s way then raised both arms as he crossed the finish line.

``I wanted to run nine-something, but I threw it away by playing around at the end of the race,’’ said Greene of his 2004 outdoor individual debut.

Greene downplayed the renewal of his rivalry with Montgomery just months before the Athens Summer Olympics.

Montgomery was initially scheduled to run in another 100m race on Sunday, but switched to Greene’s race the night before.

I try to put together a complete race whether Tim is in the race or not,'' said Greene, who has lost 10 pounds. I just wanted to come out and show everybody how healthy I feel.

``The only statement I was trying to make was that I feel good and there are better things to come.’’

Montgomery broke Greene’s world record in 100m with a time of 9.78 seconds in Paris in 2002.

``He (Montgomery) knows he doesn’t deserve it,’’ said Greene of the world mark.

Greene hadn’t raced Montgomery since the 100m at the US track and field championships in 2002.

They were supposed to meet in Lausanne, Switzerland, in July but Montgomery had to fly home to the US to be with fellow sprinter Marion Jones’ side for the birth of their son, Tim jnr.

Montgomery said he wasn’t able to focus properly on the race because he was worried about Jones, who finished a disappointing fourth earlier in the day in the women’s 200m.

``It wasn’t a good day for the family,’’ Montgomery said.

Montgomery praised Greene but also said he thought the officials were going to call a false start because there was a lot of movement at the starting line.

There was a lot of rocking,'' Montgomery said. They flinched. I flinched back and I got caught.’’

Montgomery, 29, said he couldn’t understand why he was initially listed in the University class 100m.

I was disappointed,'' he said. We had it changed to get me in the race with Maurice. Today I wasn’t able to handle the pressure, point blank.’’

Montgomery finished runner-up at the 2003 US Track and Field Championships in 10.15.

He has gone through two coaching changes in past two years, dropping Trevor Graham before working with controversial Canadian Charlie Francis and then switching to Dan Plaff.

Greene also looked strong in running the anchor leg for the winning 4x100 metre relay team on Sunday.

England’s Chris Rawlinson captured the men’s 400 metre hurdles with a time of 48.93 seconds. Last year’s world silver medallist Joey Woody, of the US, was second in 49.11.

Former 200m world champion Inger Miller beat 18-year-old Allyson Felix to win the women’s 100 metres in 11.04.

``This is where I should be. This is where I wanted to get back to,’’ Miller said.

Felix flashed across the line in 11.14 while Angela Daigle placed third in 11.24.

Four-time world champion Allen Johnson won the men’s 110 metre hurdles with a time of 13.25, while Brenda Taylor, also of the US, won the women’s 400 metre hurdles in 55.18 seconds.

American Savante Stringfellow captured the men’s long jump with a leap of 8.31 metres. American Bashir Ramzy finished second in 7.87m.