Jbe Kruger saw his four shot halfway lead reduced to one by George Murray as the third round of the Alfred Dunhill Championship began.
South African Kruger raced to a 13 under par total with rounds of 64 and 67, but a bogey at the fourth saw him one over for his first five holes at Leopard Creek.
And Scotland’s Murray closed to within a single shot with back-to-back bogeys at the third and fourth.
Neither of the leading pair have ever won on The European Tour – although both have secured their cards for next season with some good displays in recent weeks.
Murray was tied third in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship at St Andrews last month, while 25 year old Kruger ended any concerns about his 2012 playing rights when he finished 13th in Singapore last week.
Four players were tied for third on ten under – home trio Garth Mulroy, Merrick Bremner and Jaco Van Zyl joining England’s Seve Benson - who is playing on a medical exemption and needs to climb from 163rd to within the top 115 on The Race to Dubai by the end of the UBS Hong Kong Open in two weeks time.
While Kruger drove the green at the par four sixth and birdied Murray had three bogeys in four holes around the turn.
It became very tight again, though, when Kruger bogeyed the next two.
He was joined by compatriots Bremner, Garth Mulroy and Hennie Otto, who pitched in for eagle on the 13th, while Murray's fellow Scot Peter Whiteford - nine behind at the start - was also in the hunt after he matched Otto's eagle and birdied the next two.