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Before he got on to the PGA Tour, Andy Miller traveled the country playing in mini tour events for a few years.

He played the Golden State Tour, Golden Bear Tour and Pepsi Tour.

“Bounced around all over the place,” Miller said. “If you can survive on the mini tours, it means that you are progressing to get on the PGA Tour, because it’s that tough to do.”

Miller said he has always wanted to put on a mini tour event locally. Now he is going ahead and doing it with the Napa Open, scheduled Jan. 16-18 at Silverado Resort and Spa.

“I’ve been thinking about it a long time,” said Miller, Silverado’s design director, who played golf at Justin-Siena High School, BYU and on both the Nationwide Tour and PGA Tour. “We’re going to be taking a long-term approach, that eventually this tournament can be something great and hopefully we can start to get some good players. Hopefully we’ll get some good pros out here.”

Both professionals and amateurs can enter the Napa Open, a 54-hole individual stroke play tournament that will be played on Silverado’s North and South courses. The tournament is open to all professionals, men and women, as well as amateurs with a U.S. Golf Association handicap index of 5 or less. Amateurs may win up to a maximum of $750, according to registration information. Amateurs will be paid in the form of a gift card to Silverado Resort and Spa.

“There’s a lot of mini tour events out there for the guys that are trying to make it to the Tour. But this time of year there are not a lot, in January,” said Miller. “I thought we would step in on that spot and for the first year see what happens. (Silverado’s) ownership was nice to donate the courses to us.

“We wanted to do it. Hopefully it will grow. We want to grow it into something that I think can be unique in the state, in the country.”

Round 1 is Jan. 16 on the North Course, with tee times from 9-11 a.m. from the first and 10th tees.

Round 2 is Jan. 17 on the South Course, with players starting between 9-11 a.m. from the first and 10th tees. The field will be cut in half after the second round.

The third and final round is Jan. 18 on the North Course. Players will start from the Nos. 1 and 10 tees between 9-11 a.m. An awards ceremony is schedule for 4 p.m.

There is a $700 entry fee for pros. It’s $400 for amateurs. The entry fee includes green fees, cart fee and range balls.

“If we get 100 players, that would be great the first year,” said Miller. “If we get 30, that’s fine, too. We’ll just keep doing it. We want to provide a good tournament.”

Andy Miller received a number of accolades during his college career, including four-time NCAA All-America honors, Western Athletic Conference Freshman of the Year, and three-time All-Conference. He is a member of the BYU Hall of Fame.

Miller assists his dad, Johnny Miller, a 25-time champion on the PGA Tour and the tournament host of the PGA Tour’s Safeway Open at Silverado, in the golf course design business.

To register for the Napa Open, or for more information about the event, go to https://www.golfgenius.com/pages/1745915

The registration deadline is Jan. 6 at 6 p.m., or once the first 100 players sign up.

The cost for practice rounds is $60.

To schedule practice rounds, or for more information, contact Devon Raymond, tournament coordinator, at 707-257-5467 or draymond@troon.com

Safeway Open honored by PGA Tour

The Safeway Open, which has been played at Silverado Resort and Spa the last three years, was one of 13 tournaments that were honored with “Best Of” awards by the PGA Tour at the annual tournament meetings on Thursday at Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.

The Safeway Open, a $6.2 million event that opens the PGA Tour’s 2018-19 schedule, shared honors with the Waste Management Phoenix Open as “Most Fan-First Event,” it was announced by the PGA Tour.

The newly introduced award recognizes significant enhancements to the on-site fan experience, according to a press release.

The Waste Management Phoenix Open, played at TPC Scottsdale, was named as the “Tournament of the Year” for the third time in five years.

The Safeway Open is part of the FedExCup schedule. Safeway is the title sponsor. The five-year agreement runs through 2020 with the PGA Tour event remaining at Silverado for the duration.

The Safeway Open is part of the PGA Tour’s 46-tournament schedule for 2018-19 that concludes with three FedExCup Playoff events. The PGA Tour’s wraparound schedule bridges two years.

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Executive Sports Editor

Executive Sports Editor Marty James has been with the Napa Valley Register since 1979. He is a member of the Associated Press Sports Editors, California Prep Sportswriters Association, and the California Golf Writers Association. He was inducted into the