1 of 6
Eric Risberg, Associated Press
Steve Stricker watches hit putt for birdie miss the hole on the third green during the final round of the Hyundai Tournament of Champions PGA Tour golf tournament in Kapalua, Hawaii, Monday, Jan. 9, 2012.

KAPALUA, Hawaii — Steve Stricker kicked off the new PGA Tour season Monday with a victory in the Tournament of Champions, though he didn't make it easy on himself.

His five-shot lead was reduced to one shot after only six holes before Stricker pulled himself together with back-to-back birdies and closed with a 4-under 69 to win by three.

Martin Laird, Jonathan Byrd and Webb Simpson each got within one shot of Stricker in the final round, but they couldn't catch him.

It was the 12th career win for Stricker, and ninth since he turned 40. He moved back to No. 5 in the world.