Andy Miller wins Buy.com Tour’s State Farm Open

If Johnny Miller wanted to witness a victory he could truly enjoy, he should have stayed on this side of the pond.

Miller, who was in the NBC broadcast booth for the U.S. Ryder Cup team’s loss in Sutton Coldfield, England, missed his son Andy Miller’s playoff victory Sept. 29 at the Buy.com Tour’s State Farm Open.

Andy Miller’s victory wasn’t nearly as important on the national stage as the European triumph at The Belfry, but on a personal level it was enormous. He collected the biggest paycheck of his career ($81,000), jumped 101 spots to No. 38 on the Buy.com Tour money list and, most importantly, he is exempt on the Buy.com Tour through 2003.

“I get to play out here for a year and that is more important than any paycheck,” said Miller, who became the third Monday qualifier to win on the Buy.com Tour this season. “I’ve been skipping around on the mini-tours, so to have a place to play next year is huge.”

Miller was at 12-under 272 after 72 holes on the Empire Lakes Golf Club, and then waited nearly two hours to begin a four-man playoff that included Dave Stockton Jr., son of another accomplished former PGA Tour player. John Restino and Doug Garwood rounded out the playoff foursome.

“It was like turning back the clock with Stockton and Miller up on the leaderboard,” Stockton said. “When I saw Andy had finished at 12 under, I knew that I had to get there, too.”

Miller finished the playoff on the first extra hole. He was the only player to reach the par-5 18th in 2, then two-putted for victory. It was his first Buy.com victory in just his fifth start on the tour.

Miller previously was scheduled to give it a go in the Monday qualifier at the Monterey Peninsula Classic Sept. 30, but that no longer is an issue. Questions about his famous father, however, probably will stick with him throughout his career.

“You know, I’ve never felt pressure to play well because my dad is Johnny Miller,” he said. “It’s not like every superstar’s son wins on tour.”

It was Garwood who appeared in control of the tournament until he bogeyed Nos. 16 and 17. “I got greedy on No. 16,” said Garwood, who entered the final round tied for the top spot. “I shouldn't have been aiming for the pin on that hole.”

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