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McIlroy hindered by mixed bag in Shanghai

ESPN staff
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Rory McIlroy hit the only birdie of the day at the ninth hole © Getty Images
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Rory McIlroy endured a mixed first round at the BMW Masters, finishing with a one-under-par 71 to sit six shots off Luke Guthrie's lead in Shanghai.

McIlroy made three birdies in his front nine at the Lake Malaren golf club - including the only birdie of the day at the ninth hole - but was hindered by a bogey at the fourth, before two further dropped shots followed on his return to the clubhouse.

Guthrie continued an impressive week on the back of his fifth-place finish at the Shriners Open in Las Vegas, storming to the top of the leaderboard with a flawless round of 65. The American, who only turned professional last year, made five birdies in his opening round before chipping in at the 15th for eagle.

"It was a great day," Guthrie said. "It was one of the better rounds I've ever played. I had 19 putts, and that was definitely the key to my round.

"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.

"I love Shanghai. This is my first time over in China and Asia, and I just wanted to challenge myself to come travel abroad and get used to this, and just keep gaining experiences and get better at becoming a global player."

Elsewhere, John Daly moved up to second with his four-under round of 68 while compatriot Peter Uihlein sits a further shot back at three-under.

British trio Simon Dyson, Craig Lee and Paul Casey all carded opening scores of 70 to finish two-under, along with Graeme McDowell.

Lee Westwood finished on even-par for the day, but it was heartbreak for Joost Luiten who controversially withdrew with a shoulder injury after his opening tee-shot.

European Tour ruling states a player hoping to play in the World Tour Championships in Dubai must play in two of the three preceding Final Series events - a new ruling intorduced this year, which Luke Donald later questioned on Twitter following Luiten's withdrawal.

The tournament is the first of four events which make up the inaugural Final Series on the European Tour, with Henrik Stenson - who finished at even-par - leading McDowell by £362,660 in the Race to Dubai standings.

BMW Masters leaderboard:

© Getty Images
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