Brooke Henderson is off to her best start in a major this year thanks to her new putting grip.
The Canadian opened with a bogey-free, 7-under 64 at the Amundi Evian Championship after switching to a left-hand-low putting style in June.
It’s the first time in 12 months that Henderson has opened with a sub-70 round in one of the five major championships due to struggles with her short game for the better part of two years.
Full-field scores from the Amundi Evian Championship
“It's a really great feeling to start the major championship with a solid round. I feel like I haven't really done that this year, so feels good to get one here,” said Henderson, who is looking to crack the top 10 in a major for the first time this year.
Henderson began her day on the back nine at the Evian Resort Golf Club and opened with back-to-back birdies to jumpstart her round. The 24-year-old caught fire at the turn, recording four birdies in a five-hole stretch and rallied from her lone bogey at the par-3 eighth with a closing eagle at the par-5 ninth.
“It was just a good day all around. I feel like ball striking, I gave myself a lot of really great opportunities, which is always good, and then I was able to make some putts,” said Henderson, who made it around in just 26 putts on Thursday. “Any time that happens, you usually can go pretty low.”
Ranked as high as No. 34 in putting average in 2018, Henderson slipped to No. 111 in 2021 with an average of more than 30 putts per round.
After two years spent tinkering with different putters and grips, Henderson made the switch to the new style earlier this summer. That same month, Henderson earned her first win in over a year at the ShopRite LPGA Classic. It was a turning point for the Canadian, who was coming off back-to-back missed cuts.
“I'm not really technical. I just had a really great feeling to it,” Henderson said about her new putting grip. “Just gave me a lot more confidence. I think that's the main thing with putting, is just confidence and feeling good over the putts. I feel like [it] has fixed a few things, few flaws in my stroke that I had, which is good.”
Henderson’s lone major victory came at the 2016 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship. She’s making her seventh appearance at the Evian Resort Golf Club, where she has twice finished in the top 10 in 2016 and 2018.
“This golf course, it can be so tricky. It plays really difficult,” Henderson said after her round. “But sometimes, when you make a bunch of birdies, you can get momentum, and that's kind of what happened today. Hopefully, just keep the momentum through the rest of the week.”