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Wallace produces big finish to grab share of halfway lead in Mexico

Matt Wallace produced a brilliant late scoring burst to grab a share of the halfway lead at the PGA Tour’s Mexico Open at Vidanta.

Wallace followed an opening-round 66 with a six-under 65 on Friday at Vidanta Vallarta, moving him to 11 under alongside Sami Valimaki, Alvaro Ortiz and Jake Knapp.

The Englishman – starting at the tenth – bogeyed his opening hole of the day but took advantage of the next two par-fives, then cancelled out a dropped shot at the 14th by birdieing the par-five 18th to reach the turn in 35.

Wallace fired his approach at the second to tap-in range and rolled in from 15 feet at the par-three fifth, before following a 20-foot eagle at the par-five sixth by birdieing the driveable seventh hole to move top of the leaderboard.

“My iron play is great, putting was really nice,” Wallace said. “I managed my game at the end there really well. On four I hit a great driver, four-iron to nine feet and missed that, but took a lot of positives from those two shots into the last five holes, which I managed to play really nicely.”

Valimaki mixed seven birdies with three bogeys during his second-round 67, while Knapp made four birdies in a six-hole stretch around the turn in his blemish-free 64 and Ortiz carded a 30-foot eagle and five birdies to also get to 11 under.

Overnight leader Erik van Rooyen birdied two of his last four holes to salvage a two-under 69 and stay within a shot of the halfway lead, with American duo Mark Hubbard and Andrew Novak a further stroke back in a share of sixth.

Erik van Rooyen, of South Africa, studies his putt at the 10th green during the second round of the Mexico Open golf tournament in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, Friday, Feb. 23, 2024. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)
Image: Erik van Rooyen carded a eight-under 63 on Thursday

Defending champion Tony Finau eagled two of the par-fives on the back nine – including his final hole of the day – to post a four-under 67 and stay within five of the halfway lead, while Rafael Campos fired a hole-in-one at the par-three 17th to head into the weekend on five under.

“Honesty, I missed it, I thought it was in the water, so I just kept on saying, please get over the water, get in the bunker,” Campos said. “Once we saw it bounce, it was a sigh of relief for a second. Then when we saw it roll in, we were like I think this might have a chance. So that was an extra bonus for sure to see it go in.

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Rafael Campos carded his first ever hole-in-one at the Mexico Open, even navigating over a tricky water hazard in the process

“It’s ironic, it’s the second one this week. I had one on Tuesday on 13 playing with Nate Lashley, and I’m like I haven’t done that in 10 years. So to have two in the span of four days, that’s been pretty amazing for me.”

Padraig Harrington matched MacIntyre’s 66 and is in the group on four under that contains Ryder Cup star Nicolai Hojgaard, England’s Aaron Rai and Cristobal Del Solar – who fired a 57 round on the Korn Ferry Tour earlier this month.

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