Harrington makes a move
 Pádraig Harrington, pictured at Pebble Beach before the tournament. Picture: Kenneth E Dennis/  kendennisphoto.com

Pádraig Harrington, pictured at Pebble Beach before the tournament. Picture: Kenneth E Dennis/ kendennisphoto.com

Pádraig Harrington hauled himself back onto the fringes of contention for the victory he needs in the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am to qualify for the WGC-Accenture Match Play later this month.

The three-time major winner, now 134th in the world, carded a three-under par 69 in the second round at Spyglass Hill thanks to some solid ball-striking and generally tidy play on and around the greens.

Three birdies on his outward half, the back nine, coupled with two sand saves and a couple of single putts from the fringe saw him turn in 33 and officially use the blade just 11 times.

His back nine was less clinical and while the three-putted the par-four sixth for his lone bogey of the day, he came back with a birdie at the short par-four seventh and parred his way home to leap 68 places up the leaderboard to joint 28th on three-under par.

Leaderboard

He's still six shots adrift of leaders Jimmy Walker and Jordan Spieth ahead of his third round at Monterey Peninsula Country Club.

And while breaking a winless PGA Tour streak that dates to the 2008 US PGA is a major challenge, he has the added incentive of chasing the Pro-Am prize alongside close pal JP McManus.

 Graeme McDowell shows balance in Thursday's first round at Spyglass Hill. Picture: Kenneth E Dennis/  kendennisphoto.com

Graeme McDowell shows balance in Thursday's first round at Spyglass Hill. Picture: Kenneth E Dennis/ kendennisphoto.com

The Irish pair are tied for 16th on 13 under par — the same mark as Dermot Desmond and Rafael Cabrera Bello of Spain — and are just inside the top-25 teams who will qualify for Sunday's final round at Pebble Beach.

As for the other two Irishmen in the field, European Ryder Cup skipper Paul McGinley followed his flawless 67 at Pebble Beach on Thursday with a 76 at Spyglass Hills that relegated him from seventh to 60th on one-under par.

The Dubliner had five bogeys with his lone birdie coming at the par-five 14th, his fifth hole of the day, in a round that was a struggle from start to finish.

Graeme McDowell shot a level at 71 at Monterey Peninsula to creep up 13 places to joint 60th alongside McGinley in his first start of the season after a 10-week winter break.

His task now is to shoot a solid round on the course where he won the 2010 US Open, Pebble Beach Golf Links.

After a slugglish start to a round that began on the back nine, McDowell birdied the 15th and 16th to turn in two under but lost momentum on the way home with a three-putt bogey at the first and another dropped shot at the fourth.

At the business end of the leaderboard, Walker put himself in position to win for the third time in the course of the 2013-14 wraparound season with a three-under par 69 at Spyglass Hill.

It was a score that left him on nine under par alongside the impressive, 20-year old Texan Spieth, who carded a four-under par 67 at Monterey Peninsula.

Up to 16th in the world from 810th just over a year ago, Spieth has had one win and four runner up finishes over the past 12 months and looks likely to challenge for a place on the US Ryder Cup team as he's currently 20th in the race for one of nine automatic spots on Tom Watson's side.

Walker and Spieth lead by a stroke from Hunter Mahan (68 at Spyglass Hill) with the overnight leader, rookie Andrew Loupe alone in fifth on seven under after a 73 at a blustery Pebble Beach.

Reigning Open champion Phil Mickelson also shot a 73 at Pebble Beach when he three-putted from more than 50 feet to bogey the last and slip back to 17th on four under, five off the pace.