Ross McGowan saw his lead cut to two shots in the early stages of round three of the Joburg Open.
The Englishman opened up a three-shot advantage overnight after a brilliant 62 on Friday and remained at 14 under after three holes of his third round.
An eagle on the first helped home favourite Haydn Porteous get to 12 under alongside Daniel Im who had six birdies in his first 14 holes.
Paul Dunne was also two shots off the lead with the Irishman claiming birdies on the first, fifth and sixth.
A field of 210, the biggest of the season, had gathered at Royal Johannesburg & Kensington Golf Club on Thursday but that was cut to 78 at the weekend with the competitors playing not only for the title but a spot at The Open Championship.
The top three non-exempt players in the top ten will earn their place at Royal Troon and with Ernie Els and David Howell, the highest placed exempt players, currently seven off the lead, this is a golden opportunity to get to the third Major Championship of the year.
Porteous made a brilliant start as he holed a bunker shot on the first for eagle to get within one but McGowan, playing in the group behind, holed from five feet for birdie.
Felipe Aguilar and Jean Hugo also took advantage of the first but Hugo gave the shot back on the second to sit at 11 under alongside Im who had made the big move of the morning.
The American had birdies on the first, sixth, eighth, 11th and 12th to get into a tie for fourth after 12 holes.
McGowan left his tee shot at the lengthy par three second short and then needed two putts to drop back to 14 under, with Aguilar also dropping a shot after missing a short par putt.
Im's fantastic run continued on the 13th as the Qualifying School graduate made it three birdies in a row to get within two shots of the lead and he was soon in share of second as Porteous failed to get up-and-down and dropped a shot at the third.
Dunne was also in that group after back-to-back birdies, a shot clear of Aguilar, Björn Åkesson, Hugo and Anthony Wall.
Brazilian Adilson da Silva had set the early clubhouse target at eight under with a 68 containing six birdies and two bogeys.