- Associated Press - Thursday, October 24, 2013

SHANGHAI (AP) - The only three Americans in the 78-man field were easy to find Thursday in the BMW Masters.

Just look at the top of the leaderboard.

Luke Guthrie packed a 2-liter bottle of Mountain Dew and flew halfway around the world for one week, hopeful he would at least broaden his experience by playing golf on foreign soil. He got more than he expected. The 23-year-old American took 19 putts _ one short of the European Tour record _ chipped in twice and had a 7-under 65.

Not only did Guthrie have a three-shot lead, his score was more than 9.67 shots better than the course average.


“It was one of the better rounds I’ve ever played,” Guthrie said.

Even more surprising was the guy right behind him _ John Daly, playing for the first time since surgery in July to repair the torn tendon in his right elbow. After a strict rehabilitation of icing the elbow and drinking enough chocolate milk to put on 15 pounds, Daly navigated the 30 mph wind at Lake Malaren without a bogey for a 68.

“I gained a little bit of weight, but when you take 15 or 16 weeks off, you’re going to,” Daly said.

His mother once told him that Vitamin D milk was cure for any ailment. Adding the chocolate was Daly’s idea.

Another shot back was Peter Uihlein, the only American who didn’t seem out of place at this European Tour event in Shanghai.

Uihlein already has won on the European Tour this year, was runner-up twice and is 10th on the money list. He hasn’t forgotten his New England roots. Uihlein watched the Boston Red Sox take a 3-0 lead in the World Series before he headed to the practice range, and perhaps it was no coincidence that upon learning of the 8-1 win, Uihlein played 5-under the rest of the way for a 69.

“It’s a good day,” he said.

Uihlein ended it with an exquisite flop shot from behind the 18th green in which he let the wind hold it up in the air, and used the slope to bring it back to tap-in range.

The biggest surprise was the wind, which ripped across Lake Malaren all day and made the greens particularly fast, firm and crispy. Only 13 players managed to break par, a group that included Graeme McDowell (70) and Rory McIlroy (71).

“I’ve never witnessed wind like this in China,” McIlroy said.

Everything was new to Guthrie, who played in California and Las Vegas the last two weeks to start the new 2013-14 season on the PGA Tour. It makes little sense for him to travel all the way to China for one week before returning to America to play two more PGA Tour events.

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