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CROMWELL --- In the lingo of sports, Paul Goydos wore the mantel of loser Sunday.

In the lingo of life, there are few bigger winners.Goydos took the lead into the final round of the Travelers Championship at TPC River Highlands.

Ten holes in, he was left scrambling to somehow catch the Kenny Perry express train.

That Goydos fell short by three shots, finished in a second-place tie with David Toms, is not a surprise.The surprise is that Goydos' wonderfully dry sense of humor remains intact given all life has thrown at him recently.His former wife, Wendy, died in January after battling crystal meth and pain killer addictions brought about by persistent migraines.

In the early part of this decade, Goydos filed for divorce after learning Wendy became pregnant by another man.

In 2004, he gained full custody of his two teenage daughters, Chelsea and Courtney, and stayed off the PGA Tour for most of that year.Finishing second in a golf tournament? Big stinking deal."I'm happy for him," Toms said.

"He's been through a lot the last year and a half.

He's still out there grinding and playing very well.

That says a lot about the kind of person he is."Goydos shies away from being called any kind of hero.

His view? He is a parent and he did what parents do.On Sunday, he did what professional golfers do: try to win golf tournaments.

Along the way, he showed the same kind of rebounding ability on the course that he did in his life.He was five shots off Perry's lead through 14 holes and looked to be headed for a middling finish among the also-rans.

Then it happened.

He drove the green on the short par-4 15th, knocked home a 20-foot putt for eagle and made himself a contender again.A birdie on the par-3 16th followed.

A par on 17 led to a birdie on 18.

Unfortunately for him, Perry was more than keeping pace in setting a tournament scoring record."Oh yeah, you never know," Goydos said when asked if he thought he still had a chance through 14 holes.

"I was still grinding it out.

I did go 2-2.

Unfortunately, (Perry) went 3-3.

I went 2-2-4-3 and picked up two shots.

Part of the equation is that he makes mistakes.

Kenny was in no mood to make a mistake."Goydos owns just two Tour victories.

He has finished in the top four in three of his last four events.

It would be tempting to say he is perpetually trying to win.That is, if he hadn't already proved to be a winner."We sometimes look at not winning as failure, and that's just not the case," Goydos said.

"He played like a guy who's won 14 times.

I think I played more like a guy who's won twice.

I look at it as a learning experience.

I look at it as that's the way the game is."I was struggling with my swing for awhile today.

Part of that was probably just the situation, I'm not going to run away and hide from that."Why start now? The guy has stood up to whatever obstacle was thrown in his past before.He stood up to Perry, too.

A little too late, but he did it.

He shot 19-under 261, a score that would have been good enough to win every event played at this course save for the 2000 tournament when Notah Begay set the old mark of 260.Of course, here comes Perry throwing up a 63 for a four-day total of 258.

Goydos has the tournament of his life and finishes second."Discouraged? No," Goydos said.

"I'm a bit flabbergasted.

That's probably the lowest 72-hole score I've ever shot on Tour, 261.

It's got to be.

I would remember 260.

I wasn't thinking too much about that, quite frankly.

Now I'm going to, though."Beats the heck out of thinking about how to repair your life.

Goydos already won that battle of wits.
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