Canberra’s Matt Millar poised to strike at Australian PGA

Matt Millar is poised to strike at the Australian PGA Championships. Photo: Michael DodgeCanberra golfer Matt Millar will take calculated risks to boost his chances of claiming the biggest title of his career, using the experience of an Australian Masters fade out to change his fortunes on Sunday.

Millar will start the last round of Australian PGA championship three shots from the lead and within striking distance.

It continues his superb form this summer, which led to him winning the Australasian player of the year award and finishing in the top 10 at nine tournaments this year.

Millar had a golden chance to win the Australian Masters in Melbourne two weeks ago, but stumbled as the pressure mounted in the closing stages.

He will turn that letdown into motivation, with the extra incentive of finishing at the top of the Australian order of merit.

“I’m going to need to be patient, pick and choose where you can have a go,” Millar said.

“I think it will be a case of if you can limit the mistakes, pick up three or four birdies … I don’t think you’ll need to be much more than four or five-under par.

“I do feel like I’m in with a good shot. If I can shoot something in the 60s, I don’t think I’ll be too far away.

“I think the Masters has just helped with the calmness through the round. I kept my head up, things didn’t go my way. And those things help you learn. You try to take those things with you and hopefully they help.”

Millar had his worst round of the tournament on Saturday, finishing with a two-over par round of 74 to be in a tie for fifth behind American Harold Varner III and South African pair Dylan Frittelli and Zander Lombard (three-under par).

At a tournament which has been brutal on scoring, the 39-year-old is at even par after three days and wants to turn the most consistent year of his career into a big victory.

Millar needed treatment on the course for a minor back complaint on Saturday as he had five bogeys and two birdies in his third round.

“The back was a bit uncomfortable, but I felt like I hit a lot of good shots. The golf course is just so strong,” Millar said.

“I let a couple too many go, I would have liked to have been a couple under, but I’ve still got a good chance. There’s a lot on the line [on Sunday].

“If I finish in the first three I can maybe win the order of merit. There’s a fair bit to go but you try not to worry about it. You can’t fire wherever you want … but I’m there.”

Millar will wait until after the NSW PGA championships next week before weighing up his future and deciding whether he will go back to being a full-time professional.

He left the full-time circuit to spend more time with his family in Canberra and be a teaching professional at the Gold Creek Country Club.

His stellar form could force him into a rethink. Winning the Order of Merit opens doors to the World Golf Championships and more international events.

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