All it took for Mathew Goggin to get on a roll was a dose of confidence. And he got it in a big way while winning the Nationwide Tour's Panama CLARO Championship in February. Since then, he's been riding a wave of confidence that just might get him back to the PGA TOUR sooner rather than later.
"I don't know, it's just having that first victory of the season in that first tournament of the year really put me in a good position," said Goggin, who picked up his second win of the season on Sunday by shooting a 69 to win the Preferred Health Systems Wichita Open.
All Goggin did in Kansas was shoot 18 under with four rounds in the 60s. The second win of the season and $108,000 in winnings put him way in front on the Nationwide Tour's money list and secured his PGA TOUR card for next season. But Goggin, 37, can get to the PGA TOUR even sooner with another victory and the instant promotion.
"I plan on taking the next three weeks off to kind of get refreshed," said Goggin, an Australian who is playing in his fourth full season on the Nationwide Tour but spent several years on the PGA TOUR where he amassed more than $7 million for his career. Goggin will sit out this week's Mexico Open Presented by Banamex, then the Tour will take two weeks off.
What Goggin is looking forward to for the next three weeks is spending time at home in Charlotte, N.C., with his wife, Felicity, and their two young children (Eva and Atticus). They weren't there on Sunday for his second victory of the season, but Goggin said it was still a special feeling.
"Since I have two kids, it really is special to win on Father's Day, but really any day is good to win a golf tournament," Goggin said. "I feel like I'm back on the same trajectory I was two years ago when I was among the top-15 in the world and played in the last group at the British Open."
With the $303,898 he's won this season on the Nationwide Tour, he's assured of finishing inside the top 25 on the Tour's money list at the end of the season. While Goggin has never won on the PGA TOUR in 253 career starts, he has four Nationwide Tour wins in his career. Picking up two in nine tournaments this season has put him in great shape for the future.
Besides his confidence level, Goggin went back to his old equipment and it's paying dividends. His feeling of comfort has added up to low scores and has attributed to him becoming sixth on the Nationwide Tour in scoring average at 69.13.
Toward the end of his 2009 season on the PGA TOUR, Goggin said he went through a similar stretch where everything was falling into place; he tied for fifth that year in the British Open. The difference, he says, is he didn't win then but has been able to close the deal twice in 2011.
"I think experience goes a long way and I've got that going for me to where it feels good to me if I'm in contention on Sundays," Goggin said. "That's a big factor."
While last season on the Nationwide Tour was all about the young guns, this season it's more about the veterans who have shown their talents. Goggin doesn't mind being considered one of those veterans.
"I've been around awhile," he said. "But I have noticed that last year on the Nationwide Tour there were more of the young, talented players but it's definitely more of the veterans coming through."
Goggin didn't back down Sunday heading into the final round as the leader. He's now 3 for 3 on the Nationwide Tour, where he's had the lead or shared the lead going into the final round. He also won twice in 1999. The one time he led on the PGA TOUR after three rounds was at the Memorial in 2008 and he wound up tied for second.
What helped Goggin this season, even more than the confidence he gained early, was his attitude about what he needed to accomplish. He struggled in 2010 on the PGA TOUR, ranking 155th in FedExCup points standings, and fell all the way to 159th on the money list.
"I just knew that on the Nationwide if you played well and competed you could have a chance to win," Goggin said. "But it's still hard to win on the Nationwide Tour."
Goggin said he wasn't looking for instant success on the Nationwide Tour. He was ready to be a consistent player week in and week out.
"My goals have kind of changed and again that all goes back to that first win of the season," he said. "That really set me up to where I am now."
When Goggin won twice in 1999 it was called the Nike Tour, but he says not a lot has changed on tour and that's a good thing.
"The tournament venues have changed around but the support the tournaments get from the locals putting on the events are great," he said. "It's a great tour and provides an excellent place to play because there aren't a lot of 72-hole, stroke play tournaments where you get a chance to compete against a lot of quality players."
John Dell has covered golf for the Winston-Salem Journal in North Carolina for the last 17 years. His views do not necessarily represent the views of the PGA TOUR. You can reach him at email@example.com.