Peter Whiteford reached the turn in just 30 shots to snatch the lead on day three of the M2M Russian Open at Tseleevo Golf & Polo Club.
The Scot, seeking a first European Tour victory after a couple of runner-up finishes, birdied five of his first six holes in glorious Moscow sunshine.
A missed putt from close range at the seventh cost Whiteford a bogey, but he holed out from a bunker at the next for an eagle three.
That took the 33 year old to 13 under for the week – one ahead of overnight leader David Horsey and Belgian rookie Thomas Pieters.
England’s Horsey had initially extended his overnight lead with birdies at the first and third, but was unable to keep pace with Whiteford’s charge and slipped from the top of the leaderboard with a bogey at the ninth after finding rough right of the green with his approach.
Pieters, already a runner-up at the Open de España during his maiden season at this level, had three birdies in his outward 33 – holing from 20 feet at the seventh and ninth.
Italian Andrea Pavin and England’s Gary Boyd were tied for fourth, although at eight under were a long way adrift of the leaders.
Horsey turned things back in his favour with consecutive gains to start the back nine, and with Whiteford bogeying the tenth the Englishman was back to where he started the day at two clear.
However, after a bogey at the 13th, Horsey paid the price for a clumsy chip at the 15th to leave the pair level on 12 under, with Pieters three behind after a disastrous double bogey at the 15th.