Dylan Frittelli matched the lowest round of the day with a 69 to take a two-shot lead into the final round of the Bahrain Championship.
The South African entered the weekend with a share of the lead and while it was not quite as windy as it had been on day two, there were still testing conditions for the field at Royal Golf Club.
That showed in the early stages as the lead moved backwards but Frittelli made a hat-trick of birdies around the turn and forged ahead, moving to 12 under and clear of countryman Ockie Strydom.
Strydom also carded a 69 to sit at 10 under, one clear of Swede Jesper Svensson who signed for a 72, with seven players then five shots off the lead.
Frittelli was a European Challenge Tour graduate in 2016 and made an instant impact in his first year on the DP World Tour, winning the Lyoness Open and then the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open – which was part of the 2018 season.
The University of Texas alumnus – who holed the winning putt as the Longhorns won the national chamoionship in 2012 – claimed a PGA Tour card to return to the United States in 2018 and had impressed again, winning the 2019 John Deere Classic.
He endured a difficult 2023, however, and has taken up a route back onto the DP World Tour for those who finished outside the top 125 on the FedExCup Fall Points List, securing two top 20s in six events so far.
Frittelli found himself alone at the top as his fellow overnight leaders Svensson and Joel Girrbach three-putted the 1st and 3rd, respectively.
He made a bogey of his own on the 4th after sending his tee-shot a long way right and he was out of the lead as the charging Niklas Nørgaard made a 20-footer for eagle on the 9th and left himself eight feet on the 10th.
The 33-year-old was back in a share after a lovely pitch to close range at the 8th and with Nørgaard three-putting the 11th, he was alone on top.
A two-putt gain on the 9th and a nice up and down from the sand at the 10th moved him to 11 under and two clear but Strydom and Svensson were giving chase.
Strydom had turned in level par with two bogeys and two birdies but he came to life after the turn, playing a smart pitch to the 11th, holing from 25 feet on the 12th and taking advantage of the par-five 14th after laying up.
That left him one back where he was soon joined by Svensson, who followed a two-putt birdie on the 9th with a tee-shot to five feet on 12th.
Frittelli then moved two ahead with a birdie on the 14th after having 14 feet for eagle, with Svensson three-putting to drop a shot on the same hole.
A tee-shot to 13 feet on the 16th had him three ahead and he saved par despite finding water on the 17th before dropping a shot on the last.
– Report from DP World Tour website
Photo: Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images