Tony Finau birdied his last three holes in the third round to take a three-shot lead into the final day of the WGC-HSBC Champions.
The American started Saturday with that advantage before defending champion Justin Rose reeled him in and moved two ahead with two to play on a dramatic day at Sheshan International Golf Club.
But while Finau completed his big finish to get to 13 under, Englishman Rose dropped three shots on the final two holes to sit three off the lead alongside American duo Patrick Reed and Xander Schauffele.
Reigning Race to Dubai champion Tommy Fleetwood was then five shots off the lead alongside America’s Andrew Putnam.
Finau’s round of 70 put him in pole position to claim his first European Tour win at just the 20th attempt but the chasing pack have plenty to play for in Shanghai.
A win for Rose could move him back to the top of the Official World Golf Ranking, while a Reed victory could put him top of the Race to Dubai Rankings presented by Rolex.
Fleetwood could also move to the top of the Race to Dubai standings, while Schauffele and Putnam are both still seeking their first European Tour wins.
‘I’m looking forward to tomorrow,’ said Finau.
‘I’ve got a world-class field chasing after me. This is the position you want to be in and I’ll be looking to close out my first tournament in this position, which is exciting for me. Whether it happens or not, it’s an experience that you learn from and you continue to move forward.
‘It was great to birdie the last three. It’s always a nice way to finish no matter what position you’re in. I didn’t have a lot going my way for the first half of the day and Rosey was making his run. I was just really pleased I was able to finish that way and get some momentum going into tomorrow.’
Erik van Rooyen and Justin Harding join Branden Grace tomorrow for the final round with all three currently +3 with 18 to play.