Nathan Holman kept his nose in front midway through the third round of the Maybank Championship Malaysia but the pack were closing in at Royal Selangor Golf Club.
The overnight leader had made just one bogey in his first 36 holes but had three on the front nine on Saturday to drop to 11 under, just a single shot clear of Richard Bland, Marcus Fraser, Soomin Lee and Miguel Tabuena.
The Australian is looking for his second European Tour win in just his 20th event following victory at the Australian PGA Championship in December but he turned in 37 with 20 players within five shots of the lead.
He missed a short putt to bogey the first but got the shot back courtesy of a ten-foot putt on the sixth. The 24 year old then pulled his tee shot on the seventh to drop a shot and more trouble off the tee on ninth saw him fall further back.
Countryman Fraser was a shot back after ten holes with birdies on the third, fifth and seventh, the latter coming from a brilliant chip-in from a bunker.
Filipino Tabuena had made the early charge with birdies on the first, second and sixth getting him to 11 under but he dropped a shot on the ninth, while South Korean Lee also had three birdies and a bogey at the turn.
A bogey on the second was Englishman Bland's only blemish on the front nine and Japan's Masahiro Kawamura was a further stroke back after picking up three shots in his first 11 holes.
Spaniard Pablo Larrazábal was the big mover at eight under, having made up five shots on the day including an eagle on the 13th, while Scot Stephen Gallacher was four under through 14 holes.
South Korea's K.T. Kim and Spaniard Jorge Campillo were also at eight under, a shot clear of French duo Julien Quesne and Romain Wattel.
World Number 13 Danny Willett had been ill on Friday and turned in 37 to drop to six under.
Thongchai Jaidee had withdrawn prior to his 0955 tee time due to illness.