Date: January 10, 2009

Ogilvy leads in Hawaii

Geoff Ogilvy fired a six-under-par 67 to grab the first-round lead at the season-opening Mercedes-Benz Championship in Hawaii. Ernie Els, Kenny Perry and Johnson Wagner are all one shot back after the trio carded rounds of 68. The 31-year-old Ogilvy managed three birdies on both the front and back nine as he mastered Kapalua&aposs Plantation Course. Els held a one-shot lead midway through the first round after racing to four-under par through his first six holes. The South African eagled the par-five third hole before birdieing the sixth. Els moved to six-under with birdies on the ninth and 11th before dropping a shot after bogeying the par-five 15th. A three-time major winner, Els has won only one event since the beginning of the 2005 season. Perry recorded an eagle, five birdies and two bogeys in his round which finished with a birdie on the par-five 18th. Wagner enjoyed an eventful time in his 68 as the 28-year-old fired six birdies, three bogeys and sank an eagle on the 18th. Davis Love III, Steve Lowery, Sean O&aposHair and Ryuji Imada sit in a four-way tie for fourth at four-under. With Tiger Woods still working his way back from knee surgery, the focus will be on some of last season&aposs breakthrough players. One to keep an eye on is Anthony Kim, who won last year&aposs Wachovia Championship and AT&T National. Kim birdied his final two holes to finish two-under with a round of 71. Vijay Singh, who will undergo knee surgery following the completion of the tournament, shot an even-par round of 73. Defending champion Daniel Chopra of Sweden finished seven-over after a disappointing 80 that included three bogeys and four double bogeys along with four birdies. Ogilvy was pleased not to drop a shot throughout his round. “It&aposs not like you&aposre trying to achieve it when you play golf,” he said. “But it&aposs nice to not make any bogeys. Sometimes you can make a par on a par-five and feel like you&aposve made a bogey. Or sometimes you can make a par and feel like you&aposve made a birdie. No bogeys is always nice.” Ogilvy felt his excellent round was largely down to his irons. “I did hit my irons really well,” he added. “There&aposs such a difference between downhill and downwind, and uphill and into the wind and it&aposs either one or the other here.” “You&aposre hitting an eight-iron from 120 yards on the seventh hole and on 10 you&aposre hitting a six-iron from 110. And both of them are going right, my little dinky ones into the wind were going well and my smashes downwind were going well, so I&aposm very happy with it.” Els has taken heart from what he sees is a good start to the season. “I played in the South African Open and actually had a chance to be in the play-off,” he said. “I three-putted for 63. My game is coming around and I&aposve started playing some good golf ever since after the FedEx. So I&aposm playing okay and I&aposm feeling good about my game.” Wagner was delighted with a strong finish that left him well in contention at the top of the leaderboard “It was great,” Wagner said of his eagle at the 18th. “I had been hitting good shots all day, not making a lot of putts and made a nice 10-footer downhill on 16 and a 30-footer on 17.” “I then hit one a little too far left than I thought on 18 but it ended up perfectly in a flat spot. A three-iron in and hit a good shot and made the putt.” “It was a great finish and turned a 71 into 68 real quick, which is nice.”