By Matt Smith
To go out on Day 1 of a major and shoot a 64 and you are usually in good shape for the weekend. To repeat the feat on the Friday and you have one eye on the trophy. That is where Canada’s Brooke Henderson finds herself at Evian-les-Bains as she takes a three-stroke lead into Saturday’s third round over world No. 3 Nelly Korda at the Amundi Evian Championship.
The 24-year-old Henderson from Smiths Falls, Ontario, carded eight birdies and only one bogey at the Evian Resort Golf Club, finishing with with three straight birdies to finish on a 36-hole total of 128, 14-under-par.
“It feels really nice to get off to a fast start in a major championship. It feels like it’s been a while. To get it this far under par is really awesome,” said Henderson, playing for her second major championship title this week, six years on from her first at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship in 2016.
Korda sits alone in second on 11-under-par after the 23-year-old from Florida shot a superb four-under-par 67.
She saved her best until last, with two mighty blows to the 18th green setting up an eagle putt from two-and-a-half feet, which she converted. Having saved par from the water in the first round, after removing her shoes and socks and standing ankle deep in the lake protecting the green, she decided that she would rather go long and used a 5-hybrid from 192 yards.
“It was nice, stress-free,” said former world No. 1. “Yesterday I was struggling with the ball below my feet. I was kind of hitting it out right I told myself, I’m going to aim a little bit more left, and I did actually fade it out to the right, and thank God I aimed a little left and it just turned out perfect.”
Korean pair Sei Young Kim and So Yeon Ryu are tied for third on nine-under.
The 2021 Race to Costa del Sol winner, Atthaya Thitikul, who finished fifth in the Amundi Evian Championship last year, is tied for fifth on eight-under-par with the 2014 champion, Hyo-Joo Kim of Korea, American pair Andrea Lee and Sophia Schubert, Spain’s Carlota Ciganda and Perrine Delacour of France.
After two days of extreme heat and temperatures in the mid-30s, the forecast is for rain and storms overnight and into the morning hours. The course may play softer and longer on Saturday, presenting a different challenge for the players over the weekend.
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