PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. – David Carich of Noblesville, Ind., scored two big victories Thursday to advance to the semifinals of the 51st annual PGA Match Play Championship.
In the morning third round on the Dye Course at the PGA Golf Club, Carich beat 2004 champion Frank Bensel of Jupiter, 1-up. “It’s always fun to beat a former champion,” said Carich, head professional at The Bridgewater Club.
Then in the quarterfinals later in the day, Carich defeated Gary Robison of Canton, Ohio, at 59 the oldest player remaining after two rounds, by 2 and 1. Earlier, Robison had ousted two-time defending champion Bob Sowards of Dublin, Ohio, on the sixth extra hole.
DAY 2 RECAP: Former champion Bensel advances in playoff 
In his semifinal match Friday morning, Carich plays Rob McClellan of Butler, Pa., at 8:08 a.m. The other semifinal has Dwayne Randall of Clymer, N.Y., against Patrick Steffes of Milwaukee, Wis., at 8:00 a.m. The two winners meet for the title Friday at about noon with the winner earning $4,000, the runner-up $2,500, from the $27,000 purse.
“Par was a good score today,” said Carich of a day that was cool and dry but very windy. Carich’s first match of the day turned when Bensel hit his second shot into the deep grass left of the 17th fairway. Carich won the 16th and 17th holes to eliminate Robison.
“I’m beat, I’m done, out of gas,” Robison said of his 41-hole day. He nearly gave away the match with Sowards, the Match Play champion in 2005, 2012 and last year. Robison hit into the deep rough at 17 and three-putted 18. In the playoff, they halved the first four holes with pars and the par-3 fifth with birdies. At the par-5 sixth, Robison birdied from eight feet for the win.
PGA Match Play Championship
Dye Course, 7,000 yards, par 72
Third round results:
JC Anderson, O’Fallon, Mo., def. Ryan Kalista, Old Greenwich, Conn., 2 and 1.
Rob McClellan, Butler, Pa., def. Kyle Baehler, Scarsdale, N.Y., 2 and 1.
Ed Kirby, Wakefield, R.I., def. Tim Puetz, Jupiter, Fla., 4 and 3.
Dwayne Randall, Clymer, N.Y., def. Peter Kampmann, Riverside, Conn., 2-up.
Charles Meola, Mamaroneck, N.Y., def. Mark Summerville, Jupiter, Fla., 1-up.
Patrick Steffes, Milwaukee, Wis., def. Jake Pleczkowski, Siasconset, Mass., 3 and 2.
Gary Robison, Canton, Ohio, def. Bob Sowards, Dublin, Ohio, 24 holes.
David Carich, Noblesville, Ind., def. Frank Bensel, Jupiter, Fla., 1-up.
McClellan def. Anderson, 2 and 1.
Randall def. Kirby, 2 and 1.
Steffes def. Meola, 3 and 2.
Carich def. Robison, 2 and 1.