The four-time World Champion potted a 147 in his opening frame against Alexander Ursenbacher, moving ahead of Hendry, who has made 11 maximums, and second only to Ronnie O'Sullivan, who has recorded 15.
The Wizard of Wishaw went on to win his first round clash 3-1 and is now in line to claim the £5000 highest break prize as he defends his title in a tournament that returns after a 17-year absence.
“Anytime you get one it’s a great feeling and it was great for the event,” he said. “You know it’s on but you are trying to win the frame and not do anything stupid. But when it got to 60-odd, I thought that I could’ve played for the pink or blue but I went back to the black to try to go for it.
“Anytime you go above Stephen in any record then it’s a proud moment.”
Higgins has worked on his fitness over the summer and the 46-year-old admitted it made a difference.
He told the World Snooker Tour: “You just feel a little bit freer around the table and on the table. That’s first and foremost what it does and it should help me produce better snooker.
“As you get older, you don’t know how many more years you’re going to have playing at this level.
“So I’ve got to try and give myself as good a chance as possible in the last years of my career to stay up there, competing with the best players.”