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Brooke Henderson sets blistering pace at Evian Championship

Brooke Henderson blamed her fast start on the crepes as she took a three-stroke lead in the second round of the Evian Championship in Evian-les-Bains, France.Stuart Franklin/Getty

Brooke Henderson is setting the pace in record-breaking style at the Evian Championship in Evian-Les-Bains, France.

The Canadian shot a second straight 7-under-par 64 to take a three-stroke lead after the second round of the fourth major of the year on Friday.

She is the first player in the history of the US LPGA to begin a major with two rounds of 64 or lower.

And Henderson, who is 14 under for the tournament, thinks there’s a reason for her fast start.

“I’ve been having a lot of crêpes in France,” she said, smiling. “To keep the momentum going, I’d better have some more.”

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Nelly Korda is the only player in the 132-woman field within four shots of Henderson.

The Olympic champion and former No. 1 was three back, having finished birdie-eagle at the picturesque Evian Resort Golf Club to shoot 67.

It is Korda’s fifth event since returning to competitive action after more than four months out because of surgery on a blood clot on her arm.

South Korean players Sei Young Kim (65) and So Yeon Ryu (66) were tied for third place on 9 under, five shots adrift of Henderson. Among the bunch of six players on 8-under par was a Frenchwoman, Perrine Delacour, after her round of 68.

Henderson, who won her only major title at the Women’s PGA Championship in 2016, started her afternoon round four shots behind Korda — who was part of the morning wave — and birdied her first two holes.

There was a bogey at No. 3 and a birdie at No. 9, before Henderson went on a roll over the back nine. She had back-to-back birdies from No. 11 and then made putts from 15 feet, 8 feet, and 10 feet for birdies on the final three holes.

“It feels really nice to get off to a fast start in a major championship,” Henderson said.

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“It’s been a while since I’ve been able to do that. To get it this far under par is really awesome and I feel like I’m hitting the ball really well, which is nice, and making some putts.”

The highlight of Korda’s round was her second shot at the par-5 18th, a high fade which landed in the middle of the green and rolled to inside 3 feet from the cup. She made no mistake with the putt for eagle.

Korda said she has been suffering from jet lag and barely slept ahead of the early start to her second round, which opened with what she described as 10 “stress-free” pars.

Like Henderson, Korda has won one major championship — last year’s PGA Championship — and was No. 1 in the world when she stopped playing in February.

Now she is No. 3 and is coming off three top-10 finishes in that little stretch since her return.

First-round leader Ayaka Furue shot 72, nine strokes worse than Thursday, and was in a five-strong group at 7 under.

PGA — Scott Piercy shot a 6-under 65 to share the 3M Open lead with Sungjae Im after a windy first round in Blaine, Minn.

Tony Finau was two strokes back, with three near misses of birdie putts over his last four holes, along with Brice Garnett, Doug Ghim, Emiliano Grillo, and Tom Hoge.

On a dry, 86-degree day at the TPC Twin Cities in suburban Minneapolis, the course’s penchant for producing low scores held up once again.

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Playing in the second group of the day off the first tee, Piercy made 151 feet worth of putts. He birdied four of the first five holes on his back nine.

The 43-year-old Piercy, who led the 3M Open in 2019 by two strokes after the first round, is one of several on-the-fringe players in the field this year seeking a late-season lift in the FedEx Cup race. Piercy arrived in Minnesota in 138th place, with the cut for the playoffs at 125 and two events left after this to qualify. In four of his last six starts, Piercy has failed to advance to the weekend.

On tour since 2009, Piercy has four career wins. Just last week, he switched his caddie, his swing coach, his driver, and his putter — an uncharacteristically drastic series of decisions for him.

“Every shot counts, and it’s time to buckle down,” Piercy said. “Not that we don’t try to buckle down all the time, but there’s extra buckling down, I guess. To start off this way is really nice.

“The results with the putter today, I couldn’t be happier. It actually made me smile, and I don’t smile much. Sometimes you’ve got to make a change to get better.”

The highest-ranked player in the field, Hideki Matsuyama, withdrew. He cited a sore wrist after shooting a 77 to match his worst round of the season, his Saturday at the Masters on April 9.

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Entering the week in eighth place in the FedEx Cup race and the world’s No. 14 player, Matsuyama hit into the water three times on the unforgiving and lakeside 18th hole and took a quadruple-bogey 9. Matsuyama, the 2021 Masters winner and a fourth-place finisher at the US Open this summer, tied for seventh at the first edition of the 3M Open in 2019.

Seniors — Chasing a maiden senior major title, Darren Clarke opened a two-shot lead at the Senior British Open after the second round at Gleneagles in Scotland.

Clarke, from Northern Ireland, shot a 3-under 67 that left him alone on top of the leaderboard, at 8 under. He had two bogeys and a birdie on the front nine but an excellent back nine punctuated by four birdies.

“Around the front nine today, I was so-so,” Clarke said. “My right foot slipped a couple of times but apart from that I played really nicely.”

Scott Parel of the United States was two back after an up and down 68.

European — Paul Waring retained his two-shot lead at the Cazoo Classic on the European tour by shooting 2-under 70 in the second round.

Grant Forrest, Jens Dantorp, and Julien Guerrier all shot 69 and were Waring’s nearest challengers at Hillside near Liverpool in northwest England.