Subscribe for 33¢ / day

It was one of the greatest weeks for golf in the Napa Valley.

A leaderboard with Phil Mickelson in the mix.

A course record 11-under-par 61 shot in the second round by Chesson Hadley.

Fifteen players who were within just five shots of the lead heading into the final round.

One of the largest crowds to see a PGA Tour event at Silverado Resort and Spa.

A rock-solid performance by Brendan Steele, who fired a 69 in the final round and became the first repeat winner of the Safeway Open, the Tour’s season-opening event on the 2017-18 schedule.

Three nights of concerts on the mansion lawn.

“We had everything about the event,” executive tournament director Jeff Sanders said Tuesday, “with the weather, with the Phil Mickelson charge, with Brendan winning back to back, with all the great concerts that filled up the mansion lawn, with the amount of money going to charity, which will be somewhere about $1.8 million. So many smiles on so many people’s faces.”

“And then for it to come to a crashing ending like this, I feel so bad for everyone in the community and the wine country.”

Silverado announced on Monday on Twitter, @SilveradoResort, that the “Resort is currently closed in response to wildfires in the local area. Guests & staff have been safely evacuated at this time.”

Sanders and his team from Lagardere Sports & Entertainment, a golf event management company, left Silverado late Sunday night and went to another hotel due to the wildfires in the area.

“The lights and the power went out in our room. We could smell smoke. I walked outside and the wind is blowing 50 (mph) and you could see that orange sky, the flames up on the hill,” said Sanders. “It didn’t take long to figure out that the wind was coming right toward Silverado and that we need to get out of there right now. We all ran to our cars and left most of our belongings behind.”

Some of the PGA Tour players were among those who were evacuated.

The sky boxes on No. 17 of the North Course, the tournament course, burned to the ground, said Sanders.

Some of the players Tweeted regarding the situation.

* From Brendan Steele: “Just found out about the fires in Napa. Hoping everyone in the area and @SafewayOpen is safe. Sending positive thoughts for quick containment.”

* From Patton Kizzire: “I’ve never run from a wild fire before.”

* From Maverick McNealy: “First responders and emergency personnel are amazing.”

* From Ricky Barnes: “We just got out of town. Crazy night for all.”

The Safeway Open, @SafewayOpen, used Twitter on Tuesday to say, “Our thoughts are with the Silverado Resort and Spa community and all of those affected by this week’s devastating fires.”

The fire began several hours following the final round of the Safeway Open.

On its website, Silverado Resort and Spa said it is “currently closed in response to wildfires in the local area. Guests and staff were safely evacuated from the resort on Sunday evening.

“The resort structures are currently intact including the Mansion, the Conference Center and the Spa.

“The safety and security of our guests and staff is our highest priority and we look forward to welcoming you back soon. We are incredibly grateful to the emergency responders working to keep our community safe and our thoughts remain with all those affected.”

The Resort remains closed as roads to the Resort are open only to emergency personnel, said Julie Maurer, vice-president of marketing at Silverado.

Also intact is the clubhouse and the golf shop, said Maurer.

Sunday’s final round was played in windy conditions; winds were out of the north at 15-25 mph, gusting to 30 mph, making it even tougher to score on the par-72, 7,166-yard course.

Homes within close proximity to the golf course were destroyed by the fires.

“I feel so sorry for all the people in the neighborhood that lost their homes. It’s just hard to believe,” said Sanders, executive vice president of golf events for Lagardere, which represents over 40 players on the PGA Tour.

“We’re totally focused on our friends and volunteers who we’ve met and who have houses there and families there, the volunteers and members.

“We’ve gotten to know these people. We feel like they’re a part of the family. We’ve spent a lot of time, gotten to know a lot of people, and made a lot of friendships.”

Sanders said the tournament, now in its second year, will do “whatever we can” to help out the community.

“We’re going to get after it and quickly get things put back together and help out any way we can with things that need to get done now. We’re going to do our part. We’ll bounce back as a community. We’ll come back and put on a great event next year.”

The Safeway Open is a $6.2 million event. There were 144 players in the field. Steele completed the week, shooting 15-under-par 273 and earned $1,116,000.

This is the fifth year of the PGA Tour’s wraparound schedule that bridges two years, with 45 events leading up to the FedExCup Playoffs. The season includes eight events in the fall, all of which award FedExCup points.


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