Guthrie grabs BMW lead ahead of Daly, McIlroy in touch

Thu Oct 24, 2013 7:57am EDT
 
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(Reuters) - American Luke Guthrie left a quartet of former world number ones trailing in his wake with a blistering start to the BMW Masters in Shanghai on Thursday, firing a seven-under 65 to sit three shots clear of compatriot John Daly.

The 23-year-old, who turned professional last year, had only 19 putts in his bogey-free round which was boosted by an eagle at the par-five 15th when he holed a flop shot from the bank by the green after chipping in for birdie on the previous hole.

Guthrie, playing on the European Tour for the first time, was one of just 13 players to shoot under par as blustering winds made scoring tough at the Lake Malaren golf course.

"It was a great day," Guthrie, who finished fifth in Las Vegas last week on the U.S. PGA Tour, told reporters.

"It was one of the better rounds I've ever played. I was really looking forward to this tournament on my schedule, and just can't be more happy to be here."

Daly, commonly known as 'Wild Thing', made the most of his first tournament appearance since July's Greenbrier Classic on the PGA Tour.

The 47-year-old, a former British Open and U.S. PGA Champion now ranked 447 in the world and relying on sponsors invitations to compete, fired a bogey-free round of 68 to sit alone in second at the high-caliber field event.

"After not playing a competitive round in about 14, 15 weeks, it felt pretty good," said Daly, who has been recovering from elbow surgery.

"I just stayed calm and when you haven't played in a while, you want to execute and hit solid shots."   Continued...