Justin Rose joined defending champion Matthew Fitzpatrick, Dylan Frittelli and David Lipsky at the top of the leaderboard as the third round of the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai got under way at Jumeirah Golf Estates.
The Englishman arrived at the eighth Rolex Series event of the season trailing Tommy Fleetwood by 256,737 points in the Race to Dubai Rankings presented by Rolex and knowing he needed a top five finish to have a chance of being crowned Europe's Number One for a second time.
He seized the initiative to top the projected Rankings after day one but a bogey on the last in his second round meant Fleetwood was back in the ascendancy heading into the weekend.
Two birdies in his first five holes, however, moved Rose to the top of the leaderboard and the standings at ten under, with Fleetwood four shots back.
American Lipsky signed for a 64 to set the clubhouse target, with Frittelli five under through ten holes and Fitzpatrick level par after four.
Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Dean Burmester, Shane Lowry, Julian Suri and Peter Uihlein were just a shot off the lead.
Birdies were the order of the day with a host of players making early moves into the expanding group at eight under but Rose was the first man to move out of it, putting his approach on the first to ten feet.
He was soon joined there by Lipsky who was putting together the round of the day as he charged through the field.
The American birdied his first four holes and added another at the seventh to turn in 31. Back-to-back birdies on the 13th and 14th then had him at nine under and when he birdied the par four 15th - shortened to 282 yards with the tee moved up 92 yards on Saturday - he was in a share of the lead.
Both Fitzpatrick and Tyrrell Hatton missed good birdie chances on the first and Frittelli joined Hatton and Rose a shot off the lead, picking up shot on the seventh to go with his birdie-birdie-birdie start.
Aphibarnrat had extended his bogey-free run over two seasons here on the Earth Course to 55 holes with a par save on the first and he birdied the second to move to nine under, a trick repeated by playing partner Suri.
Rose put his second at the third to tap-in range to join the lead and with Fleetwood bogeying the fifth after trouble off the tee to drop to five under, the Race to Dubai pendulum was swinging back towards the 2013 US Open champion.
A Lipsky bogey on the 16th dropped him back to nine under and Uihlein was the next man to join that group as he added a hat-trick of gains from the fifth to a birdie on the second.
Burmester made gains on the first, third and seventh while Lowry had birdies on the first, second, ninth and 12th with ten players within a shot of the lead.
A birdie on the last moved Lipsky back into a share of the lead while Frittelli moved to ten under with a birdie on the tenth.
A Hatton bogey on the fourth dropped him to eight under alongside Scott Hend, Martin Kaymer, Mike Lorenzo-Vera, Jon Rahm, Callum Shinkwin and Richard Sterne.
Fleetwood hit an excellent approach into the eighth to pick up the shot lost at the fifth.