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Geoff Ogilvy leads first round of Mercedes

Thursday, January 8, 2009

By The Associated Press

KAPALUA, Hawaii (AP) -- Geoff Ogilvy opened the PGA Tour season Thursday without making bogey on his way to a 6-under 67 and a one-shot lead in the Mercedes-Benz Championship, a score that only surprised him because of the location.

In his eight previous rounds on the Plantation course at Kapalua, he had never shot better than 72. But the former U.S. Open champion is coming off a victory in the Australian PGA and a tie for sixth in the Australian Open last month, and he was just as sharp in taking the first-round lead over Ernie Els, Kenny Perry and Johnson Wagner.

Els arrived in Maui having played only once in the last six weeks, and that worked well for him. In his first time to Kapalua in four years, he made only one blunder -- a tee shot into the hazard on the par-5 15th -- to get his season off to a solid start.

Wagner, one of a dozen newcomers to the winners-only Mercedes with his victory in the Shell Houston Open, wasn't even in the picture until a birdie-birdie-eagle finish. Perry joined the group at 68 with a birdie on the last hole.

Davis Love III, who won the final event of 2008 at Disney, and Ryuji Imada were in the group at 69. Imada ran off seven straight birdies starting at No. 6 -- one short of the PGA Tour record -- but followed that streak with consecutive bogeys.

Joburg Open

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (AP) -- Sweden's Steven Jeppesen and South Africa's Trevor Fisher Jr. shot 8-under 63s to share the first-round lead in the Joburg Open.

Jeppesen and Fisher opened on the Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club's West Course. They will play the final three rounds on the East Course.

Northern Ireland's Michael Hoey shot a 64 in the event sanctioned by the European and Sunshine tours. South African star Retief Goosen opened with a 70.

Defending champion Richard Sterne had a 71. The South African is trying to tie the European tour record of three consecutive victories set by Nick Faldo in 1983 and matched by Seve Ballesteros in 1986. Sterne won the Alfred Dunhill and South African Open in his last two starts in December.

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