Julien Guerrier will take a one-shot lead into the final day of the Cazoo Classic at Hillside Golf Club.
The Frenchman bogeyed his first and last holes but had five birdies in between to finish the day at Southport on 12 under as players struggled in the breezy conditions.
A birdie on the last took Jens Dantorp to 11 under along with Scotland’s Richie Ramsay and overnight leader Paul Waring, who had a mixed day.
Early and late birdies saved Waring’s round and kept him in contention going into Sunday.
A three-player tie on 10 under sees Sweden’s Alexander Björk and Sami Välimäki of Finland joined by Scotland’s Grant Forrest.
South Africa’s Richard Sterne is on nine under after carding a third-round 69 that included five birdies and two bogies.
Guerrier dropped a shot on the 1st but then made three birdies in a row from the 4th.
Overnight leader Waring had a birdie on the 2nd but then bogeyed the 6th to slip back to 11 under and a share of the lead with Guerrier.
Waring’s tee shot on the par-three 7th went through the green to the fringe and after his chip was short, playing partner Guerrier had the chance of a birdie.
The Frenchman missed but made par from four feet as Waring dropped back to 10 under and a share of second with a consecutive bogey.
Guerrier’s tee-shot on the par-three 10th bounced off the bank into a greenside bunker and Waring was also right but a lucky bounce saw him left with a 22-foot birdie putt.
The Frenchman got up and down from the bunker and Waring needed a second putt just to remain one behind as they both made par.
Dantorp’s birdie on 11 then took him into a share of the lead with Guerrier who, like Waring, hit his approach shot left of the same hole.
Waring had to take a drop and his pitch ran through the green. He had to settle for a bogey to drop to nine under while Guerrier saved par to stay in a tie for the lead.
Waring’s woes continued as he found water off the tee on the 12th and took another drop but a fine approach enabled him to scramble par.
A birdie on the 17th saw Ramsay join the three-way battle for the lead on 11 under but Guerrier responded with the same on the 13th to move one ahead.
Birdies on the 14th and 17th then took Waring back up to joint second.
Guerrier found himself close to a tree on the 17th but his second shot bounced onto the green and he claimed birdie to go two ahead.
But a second dropped shot of the day came on the last.
Guerrier said he would try to concentrate on his game on the final day despite the pressure of looking for his first DP World Tour win.
He said: “I am really happy with my game today. I managed well from the rough, I hit some really good shots from the rough.
“It’s going to be emotional but I will keep to my plan. I want to hit fairway, green and try to hit the putt.”
– Report from DP World Tour website