Route 66 for Harrington in Mexico as he jostles for position

Ronan MacNamara

Padraig Harrington (Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images)

Ronan MacNamara

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Pádraig Harrington recovered from a poor finish on Thursday with a silky second round of 66 at the Mexico Open at Vidanta.

Harrington climbed 57 places into a tie for 31st, making the cut at his ease on four-under-par and he trails a four-way tie for the lead by seven shots heading into the weekend.

The three-time major winner dropped three shots in his last two holes in round one but immediately recovered the damage as he opened his second round with three straight birdies.

Harrington carded just two pars on the front nine as he threw in bogeys on the fourth and eighth holes but mixed in birdies on five and seven to turn in 32.

A steady back nine with birdies on 12 and 18 saw him home in 34.

The Dubliner has been giving himself plenty of birdie chances and ranks 11th in strokes gained approach to the green but has lost over 2 strokes on the greens.

Meanwhile, at the top, Sami Valimaki continues to lead the way but he shares the advantage with Matt Wallace, Jake Knapp and Mexican Alvaro Ortiz.

Ortiz, who won the 2021 Mexico Open when it was an event on PGA TOUR Latinoamérica, carded a second-round 64 on Friday to move into a tie for the lead.

“The more I play, the more comfortable I feel and I start to realize that I have the game,” said Ortiz, who is playing this week on a sponsor exemption.

Ortiz, who plies his trade on the Korn Ferry Tour would receive a two-year exemption on the PGA TOUR, exemption into the remaining five Signature Events and invites to THE PLAYERS Championship, the Masters and the PGA Championship if he could earn a career-changing maiden PGA Tour win.

Even a second place finish would earn him temporary membership for the 2024 season while a top-10 would see him into next week’s Cognizant Classic.

“It’s awesome to have my family, to have my friends, to have my people,” Ortiz said. “We don’t get to play much in Mexico, so it’s pretty cool to be out here, to be playing well and feel the support from them.

“There’s still a lot of golf to be playing, 36 holes, anything can happen. Got to focus right now, got to get a good practice in, recover and get ready for tomorrow.”

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