Shanghai, China (SportsNetwork.com) - Luke Guthrie fired a 7-under-par 65 on Thursday to grab a 3-stroke lead over John Daly after the opening round of the BMW Masters, the opening event of the inaugural Race to Dubai Final Series.
Guthrie, a two-time Web.com Tour winner, is coming off a tie for fifth at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open on the PGA Tour.
"It was a great day," said the 23-year-old. "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, playing for the first time since July elbow surgery, shot 4-under-par 68 at windy Lake Malaren Golf Club to snare solo second place.
Peter Uihlein, a 24-year-old American who earned his first professional win at the Madeira Islands Open in May, is alone in third place after an opening- round 69.
Graeme McDowell highlights a group of seven tied for fourth at 2-under 70, while Rory McIlroy shares 11th with Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano and China's Wen- Yi Huang at 1-under 71. McIlroy, last year's runner up at this event, is coming off a tie for second at the Korea Open.
FedEx Cup winner Henrik Stenson opened with an even-par 72. He is looking to become the first player to win the FedEx Cup on the PGA Tour and the Race to Dubai on the European Tour.
Guthrie needed only 19 putts during his bogey-free round, which began with birdies at Nos. 2, 3 and 7 during an outward 33.
Around the turn, Guthrie rolled home a birdie putt at the 13th, chipped in for birdie at the 14th, then used another deft chip-in to eagle the par-5 15th and reach 7-under. The American parred out to remain there.
"I had about five weeks off before I played the last two weeks over on the PGA Tour, and I've been playing solid, hitting it a lot better and just been getting a lot out of my rounds again, which is nice," he said.
Daly returned in fine form, as the former British Open and PGA Champion went bogey-free with birdies at Nos. 7, 10, 15 and 17 to sit in second place through 18 holes.
NOTES: Guthrie is playing in his first regular European Tour event ... The European Tour's Final Series is a four-event competition similar to the season-ending FedEx Cup on the PGA Tour ... Stenson leads the European Tour money list by 425,573 euros ... Defending champion Peter Hanson shot 7-over- par 79. He is tied for 67th place.