Alvaro Quiros saw his lead trimmed to four shots as the final round of The Rocco Forte Open - Verdura, Sicily got under way on another day of tough scoring.
High winds have been the story of the weekend with just seven players under par on Saturday, and more gusty conditions greeted the players as Quiros went in search of a first European Tour win in six years.
The Spaniard has six wins to his name but has endured a barren few years and is attempting to regain his playing privileges this week in Italy after committing himself to the Challenge Tour for 2017.
A birdie on the second moved him to 17 under after three holes, four clear of Zander Lombard and six ahead of Portuguese José-Filipe Lima, Italian Renato Paratore and Spaniard Pep Angles.
Angles was the man to cope best with the wind on Saturday as he posted a 68 and he made a bright start again with a birdie on the first, a start that was matched by Lombard who chipped to close range.
Lima also made a good start, birdieing the first and second to join Angles five shots off the lead.
Paratore took advantage of the par five second to move to 11 under but he was still six shots back when Quiros made his first birdie of the day on the same hole, with Lombard making it a birdie-birdie start.
The South African was dialled in but he saw a ten-footer for three in a row lip out on the third and the lead stayed at four.
South Africa's Jbe Kruger was at ten under, a shot clear of Australia's Marcus Fraser and Jason Scrivener, England's David Horsey, Northern Ireland's Michael Hoey, Swede Johan Carlsson, Frenchman Raphaël Jacquelin and Spaniard Eduardo de la Riva.