Guthrie maintains lead in Shanghai

Shanghai, China ( - Luke Guthrie carded a 1-under 71 on Friday to maintain his spot atop the leaderboard of the BMW Masters, the opening event of the inaugural Race to Dubai Final Series.

Guthrie, a two-time Tour winner who is seeking his first career win on the European Tour, finished 36 holes at blustery Lake Malaren Golf Club at 8- under-par 136.

"It was another difficult day out there," said Guthrie. "Anything in the red was another good number and I was able to manage 1-under."

Ricardo Gonzalez fired the low round of the day with a 5-under 67 to claim a share of second place at 4-under 140. He is joined by Scott Jamieson (68), Thongchai Jaidee (70), Irish Open winner Paul Casey (70), Craig Lee (70) and Simon Dyson (70).

Rafael Cabrera-Bello shot 68 to claim sole possession of eighth place at 3- under, while former British Open and PGA Champion John Daly (74), Brett Rumford (69) and Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano (71) are tied for ninth at minus-2.

Guthrie, who held a 3-stroke lead at the end of the first round, opened his day with a birdie at the first, but later gave that stroke back with a bogey at the fifth.

He bounced back with a gain at the seventh to make the turn at 8-under.

Guthrie then bogeyed the 10th and 12th around a birdie at the 11th to fall back to 7-under, which dropped his lead to just a stroke over Dyson.

The Englishman had played his first 15 holes at 4-under after countering a bogey at the second with birdies at the third, 11th and 15th, and an eagle at the seventh.

Guthrie, however, was playing in the final group behind Dyson and also birdied the 15th to move to 8-under and reclaim a 2-stroke lead.

Guthrie followed with a 15-foot birdie putt at the 17th to reach 9-under before a bogey at the last dropped him back to minus-8.

"I made a few more mistakes out there, made a few bogeys, which was a little disappointing. It's never fun to bogey the last hole, but it's playing tough," stated Guthrie. "I hit a lot of good shots, a lot of things to build on. I made two great swings on 17 and 18 with irons to finish, and build on that going into tomorrow."

Dyson, meanwhile, stumbled to a double-bogey 6 at the 18th after needing two shots to escape from a greenside bunker to finish at 4-under and hand Guthrie a 4-stroke lead.

Gonzalez's impressive round included six birdies before he recorded his lone blemish of the day with a bogey at the 18th.

NOTES: Guthrie is playing in his first regular European Tour event ... A pair of former world No. 1s, Lee Westwood and Rory McIlroy, are among a group of seven players tied for 12th at 1-under 143 ... The European Tour's Final Series is a four-event competition similar to the season-ending FedEx Cup on the PGA Tour.