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Ogilvy races off to perfect start

GEOFF Ogilvy opened the US PGA Tour season with a bogey-free 6-under 67 and a one-shot lead in the Mercedes-Benz Championship on Thursday, a score that surprised him because of the location.

"I haven't shot very many good rounds around this course, so maybe that's a surprising thing," said Ogilvy, who had not broken 72 in his previous two trips to the winners-only tournament. "But the fact that I'm playing OK is not surprising."

Ogilvy won the Australian PGA Championship and tied for sixth in the Australian Open, and he was just as crisp with his game in taking the first-round lead over Ernie Els, Kenny Perry and fast-closing Johnson Wagner.

With only moderate wind on a Plantation course in Kapalua, Hawaii, that Ogilvy refers to as "extreme golf," eight players broke 70 and 20 players in the 33-man field broke par.

FedEx Cup champion Vijay Singh, who will have knee surgery next week, was not among them. He made double bogey on the opening hole and rallied for a 73. Defending champion Daniel Chopra was headed for a round in the 80s until he birdied the last two holes for a 79.

That Ogilvy was atop the leaderboard was surprising only because his average score in eight previous rounds was 73.875. But he kept practicing during his brief respite at home in Arizona, and it showed.

"We only finished the Australian Open three week ago," Ogilvy said. "And three weeks isn't enough to get rusty."

Els arrived in Maui having played only once in the last six weeks, and that worked well for him. In his first visit 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.

Anthony Kim had a 71, while Camilo Villegas had to rally for a 74.


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