German Marcel Siem and Australian Andrew Dodt took over top spot after shooting 67 and 70 respectively at The Celtic Manor Wales Open.
Overnight leader Chris Wood, having started with a 65, had problems with double bogeys at the fourth, 13th and short 17th contributing to a 76 as The Ryder Cup lay-out at The Celtic Manor Resort bared its teeth more in the energy-sapping sunshine.
European Captain Colin Montgomerie is very much in the hunt for a first win in three years at two under.
Former World Cup winner Siem, whose seven birdies included a chip in from the rough at the fourth, was delighted with his upturn in form.
Siem said: "I played really well at Wentworth already and just had a nightmare on the 17th on Sunday and made a nine there.
"So actually I'm in there, it's just my mind set for Sunday I have to change a little bit because I think the average of Sunday is 75.
"I always say ‘okay, you haven't won for a long time, The Race to Dubai, you're not that high up', and I always try to play safe.
"When I came on Tour, I was always thinking, only thinking about winning, and not about top tens. That's what I want to do again and I just want to think that I want to win, and top ten is great, but the only goal is going to be winning tournaments again."
The 24 year old Dodt burst onto the scene earlier this year with his Avantha Masters win in India, and is now hoping to secure a second European Tour title after a one under par round saw him climb from joint second to a share of the lead.
The pair are one ahead of Dane Thomas Björn, whose 68 raised his spirits following six successive missed cuts.
"It's been two nice days," said the 39 year old. "I came in here after six missed cuts in a row, not feeling I've been playing that badly, but just not really putting any scores together. And I just said to myself coming into this week ‘just try and build scores instead of forcing it a little bit'. I've possible been forcing it too much because I've been wanting it too much.
"So I just decided to build a score yesterday, and especially today, didn't play particularly well earlier on but I hit it into the right places and just built a score again.
"I felt like I played pretty decent, and all of a sudden you get those numbers in. All in all I'm very pleased with where I am."
Wood stated: "I had a couple of really, really bad shots. To think after 12 holes I was still playing fairly solidly and then I just had a complete concentration lapse." He went into the lake off the 13th tee.