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NORTHERN TRUST OPEN

Jason Gore deals with 'Jamzilla' as Robert Garrigus avoids it

Gore lives in Valencia, Garrigus is staying in Santa Monica.

February 14, 2014|By Bill Shaikin
  • Jason Gore had missed the cut the previous two years at the Northern Trust Open before shooting a 71 and 69 to secure his spot into the weekend at the Riviera Country Club.
Jason Gore had missed the cut the previous two years at the Northern Trust… (Ross Kinnaird / Getty Images )

The Northern Trust Open is a home game for Jason Gore. He lives in Valencia, so he commutes to the tournament. However, he said he wasn't sure what he would do this weekend, even joking about finding a dorm room at Pepperdine to avoid the dreaded "Jamzilla" on the San Diego Freeway.

The freeway was so clogged Wednesday — days before the freeway closure — that Gore followed a suggestion to keep going east on Sunset Boulevard, then take the 101 to the 170 to the 5. Safe to say he'll never try that route again, because it turned a 32-mile drive home into a two-hour, 45-minute slog.

"It is what it is," Gore said. "It's L.A. It's hell. It's home."

Gore, who played at Pepperdine, missed the cut here the last two years. He secured a spot in this year's field by winning the Monday qualifier, then shot 71-69 to make the cut.

Urban crawl

Robert Garrigus, who is one shot off the lead, considers himself safely removed from the horrors of Jamzilla. He is staying in Santa Monica.

"My caddie, I'm sure he has paid close attention," Garrigus said. "I'm sure he has to get on the 405. He didn't want to stay in Santa Monica because I don't pay him 10 grand a week."

Even when the San Diego Freeway is fully open, Garrigus said, he does his best to avoid it when playing in this tournament.

"It's actually a pretty nice week, if you stay in Santa Monica," he said. "But if you stay anywhere other than that, it's a nightmare.

"You get on these roads out here and it's a parking lot. It's the only city I've ever seen somebody sell flowers and newspapers on the freeway."

Quiet on the 10th

Brian Harman is one of four players tied for fifth place, three shots off the lead. In the first two rounds, he has had a par and birdie on the notorious short par-four 10th hole at Riviera. He had a curious reaction to the generic question of his strategy on that hole.

"That's my secret," he said. "I can't tell you that. We've got two more days left. I'll tell you Sunday afternoon."

While it would seem unusual to come up with a novel strategy on such a venerable hole, Harman did not dodge the next question. If he were to discuss his strategy, does he believe another player might copy it?

"I would," Harman said.

Old joke

Jordan Spieth, 20, the PGA Tour rookie of the year last season, played for the first time with Fred Couples.

Couples is 54, and playing the Riviera event for a record 32nd time. He won the Masters in 1992.

"I told him, 'When you won the Masters, I wasn't born yet,' " Spieth said. "That was pretty funny."

Spieth shot a 66 Friday and is four under. Couples, a two-time winner at Riviera, is two over and figures to miss the cut.

Also notable

Play was suspended because of darkness, with six players left to complete their rounds Saturday.

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Matt Kuchar missed the cut, ending the PGA Tour's longest active streak of consecutive cuts made at 30. The new leader is Adam Scott at 28.

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John Peterson was four over par through 17 holes Thursday, when his group could not complete the round because of darkness. Peterson did not bother showing up Friday to complete the round; he was disqualified.

bill.shaikin@latimes.com

Twitter: @BillShaikin

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