Don’t ask Bridgewater Head Professional Dave Carich if lightning can strike twice in the same place. He is a believer. Briar Ridge’s Gary Sowinski knocked off Carich on the second playoff hole to win the 2012 Indiana PGA Senior Championship. Seventeen years ago, Sowinski needed just one playoff hole to beat Carich in the 1995 Indiana PGA Northern Open.
In the early stages of the final round it didn’t look as though a playoff would be needed to determine the outcome. Carich, enjoying his second summer as a senior player, built on his opening round 67, adding birdies on Honeywell Golf Courses holes 1, 2 and 4 to move to 7-under par and take a four shot lead over Sowinski and Ft. Wayne’s Quinn Griffing.
“I just had to keep playing and just kept looking at playing the best I could,” said Sowinski of Carich’s early onslaught.
After his fast start, Carich began to cool off after a three putt bogey on the par 4 sixth hole and a disappointing bogey on the reachable par 5, 8th hole. Sowinski meanwhile continued to stay close and closed to gap to just one shot with birdies on the 418 yard par4, ninth and the 378 yard par 4, tenth.
“We made the turn and both of us were 1 under (for the day) and I thought I had a chance,” said Sowinski.
After adding his birdie on 10, Sowinski was just 1 shot back.
Carich regained a three shot lead after the par 4, 11th hole when he made a 15 foot birdie and Sowinski was unable to make par from the back fringe.
Sowinski closed to within one shot again after Carich bogeyed the 500 yard par 4, 12th and then three putted the par 4, 13th. Carich went for the par 5 in two and pulled his second shot into a tree. The ball rebounded into the fairway but Carich was blocked from the flagstick and ultimately posted a bogey 6.
He defended his decision to continue to play aggressive even though he had a three shot lead.
“My game plan was to continue to play aggressive,” said Carich. “The main thing was I didn’t have any feel for the green speed today. I had three 3-putts. The speed did me in.”
Following a Carich three putt on the par 3, 148 yard 16th hole the players were tied as they went to the 17th hole. Both players were able to save par after missing the green which took them to 18 still tied.
Sowinski hit his wedge approach on the 380 yard, par 4 to about 8 feet and Carich landed his approach inside of Sowinski’s. Sowinski calmly sank his birdie putt to post his second straight 2 under par 69. Carich knocked his putt in as well, forcing the playoff rematch.
After trading pars on the first hole, Sowinski knocked it on the par 5, 516 yard second hole in two shots and two putted for the birdie and the victory.
For Sowinski, it was his first Indiana PGA victory since the 1996 Southern Open. Sowinski just returned to Indiana as the head professional at Briar Ridge in Schererville after a 12 year stint in northern California.
This is his fifth Indiana PGA Title. In 1995 he won both the Indiana PGA Championship and the Southern Open.
Since turning 50 last summer, Carich has 2 second place finishes and a third place finish in Indiana PGA Senior Majors. He placed third in the 2011Indiana PGA Senior Championship and was runner up after a final round 67 in the 2012 Indiana PGA Senior Open.
Sowinski, Carich, Griffing, Anderson Country Club’s Scott Steger and Pleasant Run’s Denny Ford will all represent Indiana in the National Senior Club Professional Championship October 11-14 in Virginia. Carich participated in the 2011 Senior Club Professional Championship, finishing 24th and qualifying for a spot in the 2012 PGA Senior Championship that was contested in May at Harbor Shores Golf Club in Michigan.