Without a win since the 2006 BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth, Howell wanted to keep the pressure on those behind him but missed the green at the short 12th and bogeyed.
Donaldson birdied the 11th and Rose the tenth, but the latter made a mess of the next, going from sand to rough and hitting his chip far too strongly, for a bogey that gave Donaldson the lead on his own for the first time.
Howell's bogey was bad, but what came on the 414 yard next was far worse and almost certainly killed off his title hopes.
He thought he had hit a good second, but it landed short of the green in a bunker and after splashing out well to four feet he amazingly four-putted from there for a triple bogey seven.
At the same time Rose holed from ten feet at the 12th to rejoin Donaldson on 13 under, two in front of Olesen and Santos.