Shanghai: American Luke Guthrie left a quartet of former world No. 1s trailing in his wake with a blistering start to the BMW Masters, here, on Thursday, firing a seven-under 65 to sit three shots clear of compatriot John Daly.
Guthrie had only 19 putts in his bogey-free round which was boosted by an eagle at the par-five 15th.
Guthrie, playing on the European Tour for the first time, was one of just 13 players to shoot under par as winds made scoring tough at the Lake Malaren golf course.
Former world No. 1 Rory McIlroy shot back after a four-birdie round of 71 left him in contention as he seeks his first tournament win of a turbulent year.
The two other former top-ranked players in the field, Germany’s Martin Kaymer and Luke Donald of England, struggled on Thursday and finished with rounds of 75 to sit well down the field in a tie for 41st.