Guthrie closed the PGA Tour's tournament in Las Vegas with a 64 Sunday for a fifth-place tie and hopped a plane for the 7,000-mile trek to China. But he picked up where he left off, posting a bogey-free 7-under-par 65.
Three U.S. players are atop the leaderboard of the European Tour event in Asia. John Daly is in second at 4-under and Peter Uihlein, who had three front-side bogeys, came in at 3-under 69.
Steady winds kept scores relative high with only 13 players breaking par.
"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."
Guthrie was able to keep putts to a minimum because he chipped in for birdie at the 14th hole and then for eagle at the par-5, 612-yard 15th.
He had birdies at 2, 3 and 7 on his first nine and birdied the par-5 13th, starting a three-hole run in which he was 4-under.