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BMW Masters: The Guthrie show goes on.


Shanghai. Luke Guthrie remains the man to catch in Shanghai. The 23-year-old produced a seemingly nerveless display to end day two of the BMW Masters where he started it – at the top of the leaderboard. After yesterday’s flawless opening round in blustery conditions, the American outscored his closest rivals with a fine round of 71 (-1) on Friday to move to -8 with 36 holes to play.

With the strong wind taking on a more consistent nature on day two, Guthrie was able to increase his lead at the opening event of the European Tour’s “Final Series” to a commanding four shots. Six players are tied in second place on -4 – Ricardo Gonzalez (ARG), Scott Jamieson (SCO), Tongchai Jaidee (THA), Paul Casey (ENG), Craig Lee (SCO) and Simon Dyson (ENG). One day after his 44th birthday, Gonzalez gave himself the perfect present with the round of the day – a five-under 67 that catapulted him 22 places up the leaderboard and into contention for what would be his fifth win on the European Tour.

“Given that I’ve never been over here before, it is going really well,” said Guthrie. “To be honest, I didn’t know exactly what to expect in Shanghai. I basically did a bit of Internet research on the city to see what I was coming to. That’s definitely a big reason why I’m here. I wanted to challenge myself. I made a few more mistakes out there today, but I also hit a lot of good shots. There are a lot of things to build on. We still have 36 holes to play, and I am looking forward to it.”

While Guthrie’s compatriots John Daly (68+74, -2) and Peter Uihlein (69+75, par) were unable to capitalise on strong opening rounds and lost ground on day two, a host of other big names played themselves into promising positions ahead of the final two days at Lake Malaren Golf Club. Among them were Ryder Cup hero Ian Poulter (ENG, -1), former world number one Lee Westwood (ENG, -1) and last year’s Race to Dubai winner Rory McIlroy (NIR, -1).

Maximilian Kieffer (GER, par) also cemented his place towards the front of the star-studded field with a second consecutive par round and heads into the weekend tied in 19th place. The European Tour rookie was in the spotlight on Friday. The reason: flight partner McIlroy, who is adored by the Chinese public. “That was great fun today,” said the BMW Golfsport Ambassador. “Rory was impressive. His attitude is fantastic. You can tell that he is still really enjoying playing. He is going to give the golfing world a lot more over the years. It was good for me to play in a flight with him. It is always a positive thing to play with good players. And you always play better when you are enjoying your round.”

Among the day’s winners was defending BMW Masters champion Peter Hanson (+3). The Swede made amends for a disappointing opening day with a four-under round of 68 on Friday, climbing 33 places. Scott Jamieson (ENG, -4) and Rafa Cabrera-Bello (ESP, -3) also made great progress up the leaderboard courtesy of second-round 68s.


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