Ayaka Furue (63) grabs early lead at Evian Championship

Japan’s Ayaka Furue fired an 8-under-par 63 on Thursday to take a one-shot lead in the first round of the Amundi Evian Championship in Evian-les-Bains, France.

Nelly Korda and Canadian Brooke Henderson shot matching 64s to tie for second place in the tour’s fourth major. Cheyenne Knight sits solo fourth after a first-round 65 at Evian Resort Golf Club.

Five players — including Jin Young Ko and Lydia Ko — are tied for fifth, three shots back.

Furue, starting on the back nine, carded a bogey on the par-4 13th but then ripped off nine birdies the rest of the way. Furue finished fourth in the tournament last year.

“I like the course, and with the good vibes from last year I thought I would play good, and I played very well today,” Furue said. “I had good rhythm. I hit it close a lot. My putting was very good also today.”

Henderson, also starting on No. 10, birdied her first two holes of the round. She carded seven straight pars before recording four birdies, a bogey and an eagle to end her round.

“It was just a good day all around,” Henderson said. “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. Any time that happens, you usually can go pretty low. … Sometimes when you make a bunch of birdies you can get momentum, and that’s kind of what happened today.”

Knight hit 17 greens in regulation on the way to her 65, which featured eight birdies against two bogeys.

“I think you’re just going to get some funny bounces, and I feel like playing smart, because you can use a lot of slopes on the green to get close to the pins,” Knight said. “But keeping it in the fairway is really important. The rough is thick, and so, you know, I hit 17 greens today, and that’s kind of really what was the key.”

Defending champion Minjee Lee of Australia shot 70 to sit T39 after one round.

First-round leader Furue, 22, is a seven-time winner on the LPGA of Japan Tour.

–Field Level Media

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