Second year tour pro, Luke Guthrie shot an opening round seven under par 65 at the Lake Malaren Golf Course in Shanghai on Thursday to take a three shot lead at the BMW Masters presented by SRE Group. The 23 year-old Guthrie from Quincy, Illinois has three shots on John Daly, and four up on Peter Uihlein in the first of four tournaments to crown a Race To Dubai Champion on the European Tour. Points leader, Henrik Stenson shot even par on the day.
Guthrie, who played his collegiate golf at the University of Illinois opened his run to Dubai with a bogey free round in the windy, but nice conditions in Shanghai. He got it going early with birdies at two and three, but it was the big eagle putt at the par five 15th hole which followed birdies at 13, and 14 that pushed the youngster to the top.
After spending most of the 2012 season on the Web.com tour where he picked up two wins, he was able to muscle his way to a T5 finish last week at the Shriners. Guthrie had seven wins during his college days at Illinois, and won two Big Ten Conference championships.
The Race To Dubai points leader, Henrik Stenson arrived in Shanghai with some physical problems, but is expected to play well. The FedEx Cup champion didn’t have a stellar round on Thursday, but with three birdies, and three bogeys, was able to get out of the windy conditions within site of the leaders. The 37 year-old Swede is looking to become the first player in history to win both of the major tour playoff championships in one year.
Rory McIlroy, looking a little more like the player we saw in 2012, got in the club house with a one under par 71 after the first round. The young Northern Irishman has the old look in his eye, and I expect to see some good things out of him during these final four tournaments. Maybe this will jump start more things to come in 2014.
Number two in RTD points, Graeme McDowell carded a two under par 70 to stay within site of the leaders. Defending BMW Masters champion, Peter Hanson had a horrible day in the wind, managing only one birdie on the day. A double bogey six at the par four ninth hole assisted him in putting a seven over par 79 on his score card.
The BMW Masters is setting up to be a real shootout. With some inexperience at the top, and a full field of top European players close on his heels, this could turn into a wild finish.
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