GEOFF OGILVY has started the 2009 golfing year in fine style for himself and the nation with a comfortable six-shot win at the season-opening Mercedes-Benz Championship in Maui.
It was Ogilvy’s fifth PGA Tour title and moves him from 11th to sixth in the world.
The wire-to-wire victory finished with a topsy-turvy five-under 68 on the final day to finish on 24-under-par, half a dozen strokes clear of Americans Anthony Kim (67) and Davis Love III (67) at 18-under.
Sean O’Hair had the day’s best round, a blistering eight-under 65 seeing him leap from a tie for 11th into outright fourth place at 17-under.
Justin Leonard (70) was fifth one stroke further back, while South African Ernie Els (67) and Americans Zach Johnson (67), Kenny Perry (70) and DJ Trahan (71) finished at 15-under.
Johnson Wagner rounded out the top 10 following a closing 69.
Adam Scott (70) failed to make any in-roads as he had to settle for a share of 18th place at nine-under.
Ogilvy, who started the day with a six-shot buffer, made a horror start with bogeys in the first two holes.
He recovered with birdies on holes five and six before again giving up shots at the following two holes to see his lead whittled to just one.
But a glorious eagle and five birdies over the next six holes saw Ogilvy, the 2006 US Open champion, extend his advantage once again before sealing victory at the $5.6 million ($A8 million) event with a par on the 18th.
Ogilvy is the third Australian to win the tournament after Steve Elkington (1992, 1995) and Stuart Appleby (2004-2006).
Ogilvy was relieved to get his game back on track after his rough start on a rain-softened track at Kapalua.
“I enjoyed the last two-and-a-half hours more than I enjoyed the first two hours today. It was obviously a very rough start,” he said.
“I had never had a six-shot lead before. That’s quite an uncomfortable feeling really.”
“It was tricky on the front nine and I wasn’t playing horribly. I just had a couple of loose shots and a couple of putts that I thought were pretty decent and didn’t go in, which is the sort of thing that happens when you’re leading, I guess.”
The Australian regained his composure when he reached the green in two at the 521-yard, par-five ninth and made eagle to enter the back nine with a more comfortable three-stroke lead.
“I had the two best shots of the week down the ninth hole, made my best putt and probably my best back nine of the week. So it was definitely a round of two halves,” Ogilvy said.
“A pretty poor first eight holes, and great last 10 holes, and I really enjoyed it. Once I got through nine, I really enjoyed every hole on the back nine.”
“All of a sudden I felt a lot better about everything, and played really well the last nine holes.”