WICHITA, Kan. -- When he returned to Wichita this year for the first time since 2005, Mathew Goggin remembered the good vibes. After four-rounds in the 60s and a third-place finish six years ago, Goggin shot four more sub-70 rounds this week, but this time around at Crestview Country Club, he improved by two spots in the final standings, making a six-foot second putt for on the last hole to hold off a fast-closing Kyle Thompson by one stroke and win the 22nd Preferred Health Systems Wichita Open, one of the Nationwide Tour's oldest events.
"This win today validates the first win really," Goggin said. "The first one this year in Panama, the guys fell apart and I was the last man standing. I didn't feel like I did anything special. Today, it was a real fight. I had to play well and I felt like I had to really go win this one as opposed to letting the other guys lose it. It was a real nice victory."
With winds gusting to 25 mph and temperatures in the mid-90s, Goggin managed a final-round 2-under 69 on Sunday that gave him a 72-hole score of 18-under 266. It was his fourth career title overall on the Nationwide Tour, but more importantly, he became the circuit's first two-time champion in his nine 2011 starts and he is now poised to earn a "battlefield" promotion to the PGA TOUR should he win a third title later this year.
After making four birdies and three bogeys over his first 14 holes on Sunday, Goggin appeared to finally seize control of the tournament when a 12-foot birdie putt at the par-4 15th hole gave him a two-stroke cushion over Troy Kelly. However, the Australian's three-putt bogey from 35 feet at the 16th green, coupled with Thompson's birdie from 10 feet brought both Thompson and Kelly within one stroke of the lead. Moments later, Scott Brown jumped into the mix when his birdie putt at the par-3 17th also got him to within one stroke of Goggin.
Both Brown and Kelly, playing in the penultimate group, made indifferent pars on the par-5 18th hole, setting the stage for a Goggin-Thompson showdown. After Goggin landed his 4-iron, second shot just short of the putting surface, Thompson applied the pressure, hitting a 3-iron second shot into the middle of the final green, 20 feet from the hole.
Goggin chose a putter from the front fringe and lagged his eagle effort six feet short of the flagstick, allowing Thompson an opening. However, the winner of last week's Rex Hospital Open, came up short with his eagle bid and he then tapped in for birdie to finish the tournament at 17-under 267. With the pressure on, Goggin also sunk his birdie putt for the victory.
Even with his wife, Felicity, and two young children back at home in Charlotte, NC this week, Goggin's victory today was still sweet on Father's Day.
"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 afterward. "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."
Goggin, the winner of the season-opening Panama CLARO Championship, increased his leading-money total on the Nationwide Tour to $303,898. Thompson's runner-up check this week, meanwhile, jumped him from 6th position into second place in 2011 earnings with $188,178. Kelly is now third, just behind Thompson with $187,549.
• Sunday weather: Partly cloudy with a high temperature of 95 degrees and afternoon winds from the SE at 10-25 mph.
• Billy Hurley III carded the low round of the day, a 5-under-par 66 and finished solo fifth this week, his career-best finish on the Nationwide Tour.
• After being No. 44 on the money list two weeks ago, Scott Brown is now No. 9 in 2011 Nationwide Tour earnings. Brown followed up a T2 at The Rex Hospital Open with a T3 this week at the Preferred Health Systems Wichita Open.
• Rob Oppenheim finished 10th this week and dating back to last year, has now finished in the money in 15 straight Nationwide Tour events.
• Gary Christian birdied the last two holes to shoot 1-under 70 and extended his streak of par/better rounds to 16 consecutive, the best run of the year on the Nationwide Tour. Paul Claxton's 2-over 73 ended his run of par/better rounds at 15 straight.
• Today's field scoring average on the par-71 North Course at Crestview Country Club was 70.516 compared to 69.297 yesterday. Friday's stroke average for the field was 70.176 yesterday and 71.135 on Thursday.
• The par-4 6th hole again played as the most difficult for the field with a stroke average of 4.310. Last year, the hole had a stroke average of 4.240.
• The Nationwide Tour travels to El Bosque Country Club in Leon, Mexico next week for the Mexico Open.