Defending champion Matthew Millar has shrugged off a 'nasty' back injury to confirm his place in this week's $50,000 Wagga Pro-Am.
Organisers feared Millar was set to be a late withdrawal for the showpiece event but the accomplished Canberra golfer declared himself a certain starter on Wednesday.
Millar, a long-time supporter and crowd favourite at the Pro-Am, was forced to pull out of last week's NSW Open due to a back injury.
The injury flared up earlier this month when Millar enjoyed a top-20 finish in the TPS Sydney at Bonnie Doon.
Millar hit some balls on Tuesday and it was enough to convince him that a return to Wagga Country Club to defend his title was possible.
"It's been pretty bad, the last three weeks and the Bonnie Doon weekend it got extremely nasty," Millar said.
"I took the next week off at the Hunter Valley, I spent the next week trying to get it right, I had some injections put in there and stuff, some scans and whatever to determine what's going on with it. There's a fair bit of damage in there that's got to be addressed.
"I think the injections have quietened it down a bit, finally. It didn't in time for Concord last week, it was still pretty nasty. The last time I did it, it only took three days and it really settled and I was able to play. This time around, it's taken a good nine or 10 days.
"I hit about 30 balls here (on Tuesday) and had no pain, which was good. Hopefully the stuff has kicked in. So we'll come out and see if we can defend the title."
Millar made it clear that he does not expect the back injury to hold him back on Thursday and Friday.
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"The last three weeks has been less play than I would have liked," he said.
"I think it should be alright, in terms of the mental side of it for me, that competition side. It's more about how it holds up. I found myself at Concorde just hitting a few shots that were pretty three-quarterish really and I'm not a long hitter anyway so it's not ideal when you're trying to get away from it a bit.
"I expect to go well though, I'm not going to use that as an excuse. If the pain's not there, which it looks like, hopefully, it won't be with this stuff now settling, then I expect to perform well."
Millar has been in brilliant form since his Wagga breakthrough 12 months ago. He has won five events in that time, including the Murray and Queanbeyan Opens.
"It's been really good. It's been pretty solid," Millar said.
"I've been close in a couple of tournaments. I've been pretty consistent. Every week in the four rounders there just seems to be a six or nine hole stretch where I go, not quite walkabout, but just not quite there and that's stopped me from probably either winning one of them or finishing in the first two or three more often than not.
"Outside of that, I'm very happy and have played quite well in a number of Pro-Ams this year and I've had some wins, which has been good."
The Wagga Pro-Am is an event close to Millar's heart and he is happy to be back.
"I'm really looking forward to coming out and having a crack at defending it," he said.
"There's no pressure now, I've won it. It's always good to come back to Wagga, I've met so many people there now and seen the event grow and grow and become better and better.
"I got sent some pictures of the course a couple of weeks ago and it looks in great shape."
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