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The Loop

The Australians' Open

April 04, 2008

HUMBLE, Tex. -- Six Australians have won the Shell Houston Open, including the last two (Stuart Appleby in 2006 and Adam Scott last year), a run of success for which there is no plausible explanation, not even that offered up by Matt Goggin on Friday.

"It's wide open," he says of Redstone G.C., site of the tournament since 2003. "Maybe we're just better on courses you don't have to think around, the just smash-it-and-go-find-it type thing. You dumb it down for us and we do all right."

Goggin, 33, is attempting to join the Aussie litany; his second-round score of eight-under 64 at Redstone lifted him into contention, three strokes behind leader Johnson Wagner.

"Scotty and Stuey, they belt it a million miles and take advantage of the par 5s," says Goggin. "That's how they play. This a perfect golf course for them. No rough. Geoff (Ogilvy) is no slouch in that area, either. It's probably more my strength."

Goggin, who is seeking his first PGA Tour victory in this his seventh season, had a pair of eagles on his front nine on Friday, including a holed 8-iron shot from 162 yards on the fifth hole. He also holed a bunker shot on the par-5 eighth for eagle. "All of a sudden, I didn't hit a bad shot for the rest of the day," he said. "That sort of really got things going."

--John Strege