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Millar plays through pain barrier

Canberra golfer Matt Millar.

Canberra golfer Matt Millar. Photo: Richard Briggs

Matt Millar will push through the pain barrier to try to avoid the cut at the Australian Masters on Friday after an injured back limited him in the opening round.

Millar is locked in a logjam in the middle of the field at the Kingston Heath Golf Club following his score of one-over par in round one on Thursday.

The 36-year-old got off to a blistering start with two birdies at the first three holes.

But his back pain severely hampered his ability to maintain his good form and he slipped down the ladder and bogeyed the 18th to finish his round.

Millar sought advice from tour medical staff immediately after leaving the 18th green. He was told to avoid practice but even if a slight pain persists, Millar was refusing to let it put him out of contention.

The Masters is the start of the main Australian tournaments and Millar is also trying to qualify for the Japanese Tour.

An injury would be a significant blow to his hopes of competing in Japan, but Millar is determined to continue playing in Melbourne.

''I didn't feel really good out there, the last two or three holes it started flaring up and it wasn't very comfortable,'' Millar said.

''I didn't take advantage of my early chances and the last couple of holes my swing just felt out of whack. I'll be out there [on Friday], my body has been good all year and it's disappointing that I get something like this now. I just hope it's a brief thing and can be sorted out quickly.''

Millar is eight shots behind leader Matthew Guyatt and in a fight to keep his place in the field for the weekend before the cut.

The score to make the cut will be determined by how difficult the course is to play on Friday afternoon and Millar is in one of the last groups to tee off.

Fellow Canberran Chris Campbell showed good form in his opening round to finish at two-under par and in a tie for 14th.

Campbell could have been even higher up the leaderboard after firing four birdies. But bogeys at the 14th and 17th kept him at two under and five shots behind Guyatt.

Damon Welsford finished at five-over par and faces an uphill battle to keep a spot in the field for the weekend. Welsford was playing in his first tournament in almost a year after deciding to caddy for partner Nikki Campbell in Japan this year.

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