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Eric Banks returns to the golf links Saturday.

A Nova Scotian golfer who underwent open-heart surgery last year is returning to the links this weekend.

Eric Banks, 20, from Truro was the Nova Scotia Junior and Men's Amateur champion 2011, was a member of the national men's amateur team and now plays for the University of Florida on a golf scholarship.

His career stalled four years ago when Nova Scotia fell from first in Canada to out of contention. He briefly quit golf, but returned and won the scholarship to Florida.

Heart troubles surfaced in his first physical at the university and he returned to Halifax for surgery in the summer of 2012. He hasn't played since.

His Halifax coach, Ed Hanczaryk, says the earlier setback strengthened Banks's character.

"Having a blow to what he thought he could do, it really inspired him to go further," he says.

He spoke to Banks at Christmas and thinks he'll do well in his return. "I would not be surprised if he does really well in this qualifier," he says.

Buddy Alexander, his coach in Florida, says Banks struggled to decide whether to play this weekend.

"There was a part of me that wanted to say, I need to step up and be a coach and make the decision on this kid's behalf, because I know he's struggling with this decision," he says.

"But the bottom line is I couldn't do that. I don’t know how his body feels."

He says Banks made the decision to play on Wednesday. The SunTrust Gator Invitational starts Saturday.