Tommy Fleetwood, Adrian Otaegui, Peter Uihlein and Paul Waring were in a four-way tie for the lead as the third round of the HNA Open de France moved towards its conclusion at Le Golf National.
Otaegui and Uihlein entered the day with a one-shot lead but both gave up a shot on the front nine to drop to seven under and allow the chasing pack close in as the second event of the Rolex Series was left wide open.
Fleetwood was level par for his first ten holes while Waring had picked up a shot in his first 11.
Kristoffer Broberg, Thomas Pieters, Andy Sullian and Lee Westwood were then a shot off the lead.
Uihlein got off to a poor start, putting his second at the first into the water but he hit an excellent recovery from the drop zone to keep the damage to just a single stroke as Otaegui led on his own.
The Spaniard then failed to get up and down from the sand on the second and all of a sudden the top nine were covered by just one shot.
Fleetwood had made a par-par start but was inches from an eagle on the third as he jumped out of the pack at seven under and into the solo lead.
Otaegui bounced straight back from his bogey with a birdie on the third and when Fleetwood left his second on the fifth short, Otaegui was in the lead again.
A tricky downhill left-to-righter on the fifth handed the 24 year old a two-shot lead but Fleetwood is made of stern stuff and a lengthy putt on the sixth had him back within one.
Otaegui then missed the green and failed to get up and down on the par three eighth and once again there was a tie at the top.
As was the theme of the afternoon, it was not to last for long, as Fleetwood found some nasty rough using a driver off the deck with his second shot on the ninth and he dropped a shot.
Otaegui then repeated the trick before the turn and it was a four-way tie with Uihlein making eight pars in a row.
Waring recovered from a bogey on the first with gains on the third and fourth and while he dropped a shot on the sixth, a stunning approach to the tenth had him in a share of the lead.
Broberg bounced back from a bogey-bogey start with five birdies in his first 16 holes, playing partners Sullivan and Westwood were both two under for the day with five to play, and Pieters recovered from a dropped shot on the ninth after finding the water with back-to-back birdies on the tenth and 11th.
Alexander Björk, Bradley Dredge, David Drysdale, Rikard Karlberg and Graeme Storm were then all five under.