AIKEN — While a steady rain pelted Palmetto Golf Club on Wednesday afternoon, Ryan Eibner was able to sit back and relax.
An early-morning tee time and 4-under-par 66 left Eibner in a good frame of mind as the Palmetto Amateur began play.
The heavy showers threw a monkey wrench into the tournament’s schedule, and left golfers pacing the clubhouse and the pro shop as they waited for a break in the weather.
After a lengthy delay, play resumed in the late afternoon and 72 of the 99 players were able to complete their round.
Eibner was in the fifth group to tee off Wednesday morning and got off to a hot start. He made birdies on Nos. 1, 4 and 7, the latter on a chip-in from just over the green, to tour the front side in 3-under-par.
The rising senior at East Carolina University continued his torrid play with birdies at Nos. 10 and 11. When he sank a 15-footer for birdie at the 14th, Eibner reached 6-under for his round.
However, Eibner’s 5-iron tee shot on the par-3 16th hole rolled off the back of the green and led to a double bogey. Eibner made par on the final two holes to cap his 66, which is one shot off the lead.
“I was lucky,” Eibner said. “Soon after I finished, about 15 to 20 minutes, the whistle blew (to stop play). I’m pretty happy.”
Davin White, of Locust Grove, Ga., was among the late finishers, and he persevered to take the first-round lead. He carded 5-under 65 thanks to six birdies and only one bogey.
After making bogey at the par-4 2nd, White birdied Nos. 4 and 6. On the inward nine, the Georgia State golfer birdied No. 10 and then rattled off three birdies in a row at Nos. 12-14.
Eibner combined crisp iron play and solid putting for his stellar round. The longest birdie putt he made was 15 feet, he said.
Sean Kelly, of Bradenton, Fla., is alone in third at 3-under 67.
Augusta’s Greyson Sigg, Evans’ Cody Shafer, Aiken’s Ryan Carpenter, Scott Strohmeyer, Todd White, Seth Reeves and Curtis Thompson each shot 69.