Australian Scott Hend joined Thailand’s Panuphol Pittayarat at the top of congested leaderboard as The Championship at Laguna National third round began in Singapore.
The 21 year old Pittayarat had led by a shot after each of the first two rounds, but was swiftly caught by Hend on Saturday despite a tap-in birdie at the fourth after a fine approach.
Just three shots covered the top ten players, with Hend – a three-time winner on the co-sanctioning Asian Tour last year as he finished runner-up on their Order of Merit – joining his playing partner on 14 under with gains from three feet at the first and ten feet at the fourth.
Chile’s Felipe Aguilar, whose only previous European Tour win came in neighbouring Indonesia six years ago, was alone in third a shot further back following a birdie from ten feet at the second.
Dane Anders Hansen was joined by American David Lipsky and Korea’s Sihwan Kim in a share of fourth on 12 under.
Hend recovered from a bogey at the sixth with a birdie on the next hole, but it was proving a cagey affair at the top as he and Pittayarat remained 14 under to the turn.
They were joined by Lipsky, who recovered from a pair of bogeys in the middle of his front nine with successive birdies at the eighth and ninth.
Aguilar had been joined a shot behind by three-time European Tour winner Hansen, who converted from 15 feet at the short eighth.
Hend bogeyed the tenth, allowing Aguilar to briefly assume control with birdies at the 11th and 12th.
However, the 39 year old found water with his approach to the 13th to drop back to 13 under.
That again left him one behind Pittayarat and Lipsky, who had been joined by Robert-Jan Derksen.
The Dutchman, who plans to retire at the end of the season, had four birdies in five holes from the 11th.