Ronald Payne putts the ball in the green to the hole.

FLORENCE, S.C. – Sardis’ Clark Gibbs played his second 18-hole round since July 4.

After Friday’s 4-under par 68 gave him the lead in the Florence Amateur Championship at Traces Golf Club, he might want to play more often.

Just so happens, he gets to play two more rounds in this tournament. Now all he has to worry about is staying atop the pack.

Not that the pressure seemed to get to Gibbs, who sounded as if he had taken a leisurely beach stroll instead of striking a ball along the fairways.

But on the fairways Friday, Gibbs recorded six birdies and two bogeys while playing the 9-hole layouts at Traces’ Creekside and Woodland setups.

“It was all right today. I hit the ball pretty well,” Gibbs said. “I stayed in the fairway and made some good putts. I missed a few putts I shouldn’t have missed. But overall, I hit the ball pretty well today.”

The women’s leader after Day 1, meanwhile, is Denise Brackett, who placed third in last year’s event. She carded an 80 Friday.

But going back to Gibbs, he sounded like he had the demeanor to handle the glee and frustrations that a typical 18-hole round can bring.

But as they say in golf, one cannot win a tournament the first day. But he or she sure can lose it.

In Gibbs’ case, he still has a shot to win it.

“I didn’t play college golf,” Gibbs said. “I’m just a regular ol’ golfer who likes to play every now and then.”

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Prep Sports Writer

Scott covers prep sports, takes action photos and produces videos. An APSE award winner in sports writing, photography and videography, he played college tennis on scholarship and earned degrees from Young Harris College (Ga.) and Berry College (Ga.).

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