Tournament host Lee Westwood delighted the home crowds with two early birdies to move into a share of the lead on day three of the British Masters supported by Sky Sports.
The Englishman - who is the Tour professional at Close House Golf Club and had a hand in designing the layout - made the most of his local knowledge to move to 11 under alongside overnight leader Tyrrell Hatton.
That left him a shot ahead of clubhouse leader David Lingmerth, South African George Coetzee, Ireland's Paul Dunne and local favourite Ian Poulter.
World Number Six Rory McIlroy was then in the group at nine under as he made a surge through the field.
Lingmerth set the pace with a 62 that was the lowest round of the week so far.
The Swede made five birdies in a row from the fourth to turn in 30 and added further gains on the tenth and 13th to move from the cut line into a share of second.
A bogey on the 15th extinguished any faint hopes of a 59 on the par 70 layout but Lingmerth birdied the 16th and 17th to get into double-figures.
McIlroy was also an early starter after entering the weekend at four under and he soon set about delighting the huge galleries following him.
The Northern Irishman birdied the third, chipped in at the fifth and made further gains on the par five ninth and par four sixth - where the tee had been brought up 145 yards - to turn in 31.
Dunne made a fast start, birdieing the second and third and then making it three in a row with a fantastic recovery from some nasty rough.
Hatton found sand off the first tee but recovered well to save par, with Poulter brilliantly doing the same on the second after two poor shots.
Westwood was attracting big crowds and they had something to cheer about when the 23-time European Tour winner rolled in a long one from the edge of the second green to get to ten under.
Coetzee had held the first round lead before a disappointing 72 on day two but he came roaring back with two eagles to turn in 30. He went birdie-bogey on the fourth and fifth but eagled the par five sixth, birdied the next and then took advantage of the shortened ninth.
Poulter had been ragged but produced a wonderful chip-in on the third to get to ten under and that was just one ahead of McIlroy who birdied the par five 13th.
Hatton then put his second shot very close to a wall on the second and while he recovered well with a chip, he could not save par and was soon joined by Westwood in the lead, with the 44 year old holing another long putt on the third.
Dunne made a fourth birdie of the day on the ninth to turn in 31 and sit just a shot off the lead.
Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Chris Hanson, Robert Karlsson and Graeme Storm were alongside McIlroy at nine under.