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France's Alexander Levy shoots 65 to take BMW Masters lead in China

  • Alexander Levy of France tees off on the 5th hole during the first round of the BMW Masters golf tournament at the Lake Malaren Golf Club  in Shanghai, China Thursday Oct. 30, 2014. (AP Photo)

    Alexander Levy of France tees off on the 5th hole during the first round of the BMW Masters golf tournament at the Lake Malaren Golf Club in Shanghai, China Thursday Oct. 30, 2014. (AP Photo)  (The Associated Press)

  • Miguel Angel Jimenez of Spain hits on the 14th hole during the first round of the BMW Masters golf tournament at the Lake Malaren Golf Club  in Shanghai, China Thursday Oct. 30, 2014. (AP Photo)

    Miguel Angel Jimenez of Spain hits on the 14th hole during the first round of the BMW Masters golf tournament at the Lake Malaren Golf Club in Shanghai, China Thursday Oct. 30, 2014. (AP Photo)  (The Associated Press)

  • Marc Warren of Scotland hits from a bunker on the 14th green during the first round of the BMW Masters golf tournament at the Lake Malaren Golf Club in Shanghai, China Thursday Oct.30, 2014. (AP Photo)

    Marc Warren of Scotland hits from a bunker on the 14th green during the first round of the BMW Masters golf tournament at the Lake Malaren Golf Club in Shanghai, China Thursday Oct.30, 2014. (AP Photo)  (The Associated Press)

France's Alexander Levy had five straight birdies in the middle of his round and finished with a 7-under 65 on Thursday to take the lead in the BMW Masters.

Levy began the birdie run on the par-4 ninth on Lake Malaren's Masters Course. He won the Volvo China Open in Shenzhen in April for his first European Tour title and took the rain-shortened Portugal Masters this month.

The tournament opens the four-event Final Series. The World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions is next week, also in Shanghai, followed by the Turkish Airlines Open and World Tour Championship in Dubai.

Belgium's Nicolas Colsaerts was a stroke back along with Argentina's Emiliano Grillo and France's Romain Wattel. Northern Ireland's Graeme McDowell topped the six European Ryder Cup players in the field with a 67. Gleneagles teammates Jamie Donaldson and Thomas Bjorn shot 68.

Defending champion Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano of Spain had a 72.