Date: December 14, 2008
Author: Adam Lucius at Royal Sydney

No excuses for Goggin

Tasmanian Mathew Goggin saw it as an unexpected opportunity gained rather than a chance bombed after losing the Australian Open in a playoff to South African Tim Clark on Sunday. The pragmatic Goggin had given all his gear away to fans and was headed back to the clubhouse to put the feet up after shooting a competitive but seemingly inadequate 69 in the final round at a windblown Royal Sydney. But hole by hole he saw leader David Smail self-destruct and fritter away his three stroke advantage, leaving Goggin and Clark tied at nine-under and heading to the 18th for a playoff neither had envisaged. The Australian had to send his caddy into the locker-room to find new balls and gloves so he could play the extra hole. Clark parred the playoff hole, with Goggin&aposs putt for par lipping out to hand the South African the Stonehaven Cup. “I&aposd given away all my balls, all my gloves, pretty much everything,” Goggin revealed. “You just weren&apost expecting that at all. Nine-under never looked the score all day so to get in the playoff was a bonus.” “To miss a short putt and not keep it going twists the knife a bit but that&aposs part of it.” “This would have been given to us. Tim and I, we didn&apost deserve to be in a playoff at all.” “It wasn&apost even in our head. I thought I need to get to at least 11 (under) to put any scoreboard pressure on him (Smail).” “I feel for David. He had the tournament, he was playing well and had such a horror finish that&aposs it brutal for him.” The tournament was Smail&aposs to lose when the fourth round teed off in fine but windy conditions. The lanky Kiwi held a one stroke lead heading into the final day and was well placed at two-under after nine holes. But then it all unravelled badly as he dropped shots on the 10th, 15th and 16th to surrender the lead. Smail&aposs real torment began on the 15th when he double bogeyed the 403m par four. He followed that up with a disastrous seven on the par-five 16th and the Stonehaven Cup was all but gone. “I&aposm just gutted really can&apost do much about it,” the rangy Kiwi said after signing off on a disappointing 75 for a four round total of 280. “Everything was going so well but the 15th was the turning point.” “The 16th I made a mess of it (after) a bad tee shot.” “I was a bit shattered after that and then I really just lost my way.” “The rest is history. Looking back I can&apost really think of a tournament I&aposve lost (when I&aposve been in such a commanding position).” “I usually manage to finish it off.”