Danny Willett made the turn in 31 to move into a share of the lead midway through the third round of the Omega Dubai Desert Classic.
The Race to Dubai runner-up had four birdies on his outward nine to join Rafa Cabrera-Bello at the summit at 13 under, with the overnight leader turning in 32.
The duo were a single shot clear of Joost Luiten and two ahead of English duo Andy Sullivan and Chris Wood.
Cabrera-Bello began the day at ten under but was soon overtaken as Luiten birdied four of his first five and Willett made gains on the first and third.
The 2012 champion was in determined mood, however, and he splashed in from a green-side bunker on the third for an eagle before birdieing the fourth to get to 13 under.
The Spaniard then had a stroke of luck on the seventh as he avoided the water off the tee but he could not save par and, when excellent tee shots on the seventh and eighth handed Willett back-to-back birdies, the Sheffield native had his nose in front.
That put the pressure on Cabrera-Bello but he responded brilliantly as he put one close on the ninth for another birdie.
Luiten had bogeyed the sixth but picked the shot back up on the tenth, while Sullivan opened birdie-birdie but then had seven straight pars before sealing another gain on the tenth.
Wood opened birdie-bogey-birdie and then had further gains on the sixth and eighth.
Søren Kjeldsen set the clubhouse target at ten under with a bogey-free 66 and he was alongside Nathan Holman, who was five under for the day through 16 holes.
Joachim B Hansen was then in the group at nine under after he equalled the round of the week with a 64.
The Dane was only playing due to Thomas Bjørn's withdrawal with a back injury on Thursday but opened with three birdies before giving a shot back on the fifth to turn in 33. An eagle on the par five tenth was then followed by four straight gains to get Hansen right in the mix.
Defending champion and World Number Two Rory McIlroy was then at eight under after coming home in six under par 31 in his 68.
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