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Australia’s Mathew Goggin wins Web.com Tour opener

February 2, 2015

PANAMA CITY (AP) — Australia’s Mathew Goggin won the Web.com Tour’s season-opening Panama Claro Championship on Sunday, closing with a 3-under 67 in hot, windy conditions for a four-stroke victory.

Also the 2011 winner, the 40-year-old Goggin finished at 11-under 269 at Panama Golf Club. He earned $112,500 for his fifth victory on the tour and first since 2011.

“It just reminds you that you can still play a bit,” Goggin said. “I played so poorly last year and you start wondering, at 40, what do I need to change or what do I need to do more of?”

Goggin also was second in the event in 2013. He birdied Nos. 1, 7 and 17 in his bogey-free round.

“There’s no explanation for it,” Goggin said. “You just get a bit of confidence. You get a course you like and these conditions really suit me, but you’ve still got to take advantage of those because there are going to be a lot of weeks where guys that carry it 320 off the tee get a massive advantage. So when you get an opportunity like this you have to take advantage of it.”

Harold Varner III was second after a 71. He was a stroke ahead of Goggin at the turn, but dropped back with bogeys on Nos. 10, 12, 14 and 16 in the 90-degree heat with the wind gusting to 20 mph.

“When I got on 10 tee I knew what was at stake,” Varner said. “You’ve just got to accept it. It is what it is. It’s just like any person that goes to war, they don’t complain. They go to work.”

Dicky Pride and Shane Bertsch tied for third at 6 under. Pride shot 65, and Bertsch had a 70.

China’s Li Haotong, the third-round leader, had a 76 to finish 11th at 3 under. The 19-year-old Li was making his first tour start after earning a card as PGA Tour China’s money leader.

“I struggled today,” Li said. “I hit some bad shots. I didn’t play very well. I was not able to control my distance very well. I don’t know. If I missed the fairway, I made bogey. On the back nine, I had a lot of chances, but just missed everything. Still, a good week. I feel very comfortable.”

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