Chris Paisley will take a one-shot lead into the final round of the BMW SA Open Championship Proudly hosted by the City of Ekurhuleni as he eyes his first European Tour title at Glendower Golf Club.
Paisley and France's Adrien Saddier set a halfway target of 13 under par after impressive second round displays, but the Englishman left his playing partner behind to post a near faultless two-under par 70 and finish the day at 15 under.
Home favourite Branden Grace produced a stunning back nine, where he carded five birdies, to sign for a six under 66 for sole second at 14 under as he aims to become only the second player to secure South Africa's three most prestigious events, behind player host Ernie Els.
"Being tied for the lead isn't a position I've been in a lot," Paisley said. "I'm really proud with how I've played, I felt really calm and never really felt stressed.
"Obviously playing with Gracie (in the final round), who's won God knows how many times on Tour and obviously is a great player, and in his home country. I'm sure the crowd is going to be on his side. I'm just really excited about it."
It will be a big advantage to have that support tomorrow - Branden Grace
The World Number 289 managed to rescue an opening par after finding the bunker with his second shot before he had a long eagle chance at the par five second.
Paisley lipped out from the fringe and had to settle for a birdie as he extended the lead to 14 under.
Paisley maintained his one-shot advantage when he was forced to make another great par save at the seventh, but he scored his second gain at the eighth and when the his French playing partner dropped a shot at the ninth, he was two strokes clear on 15 under.
The Englishman extended his lead to three shots on the par five 15th when he holed out a 20-foot birdie putt and, despite dropping his first stroke of the round at the next, he managed to keep his nose in front following Grace's late surge up the leaderboard.
The eight-time European Tour winner started the day five shots off the lead and could only muster birdies at the second and eighth and a bogey at the ninth as Paisley increased his lead.
However, a back nine score of 31 propelled the highest ranked player in the field to second place to put himself in contention and give fans hope of a homegrown winner.
"I got frustrated out there to be quite honest," Grace admitted. "I thought I hit the ball superbly through 13 holes, but just couldn't get it in the hole.
"I'm looking forward to tomorrow big-time. I've played myself right back into it and I'm really excited going into tomorrow. It will be a big advantage to have that support tomorrow."
Joint overnight leader Saddier did not drop a shot in his first two rounds but he signed for a one over 73 following three bogeys and two gains to start the final round in a tie for third.
South African Jacques Blaauw is alongside the Frenchman at 12 under after a third round 66 which saw seven birdies, three bogeys and a fantastic chip-in eagle from the bunker at the par four 12th, with American Chase Koepka shooting four under to join the duo on the same mark.
Els finished the day on five under for the tournament, while fellow South African Darren Fichardt produced the round of the day to sit alone in sixth on 11 under following an eight-under par 64, which contained nine birdies and one dropped shot.
South African Jacques Kruyswijk endured a colourful round of one eagle, three birdies and four bogeys, to sit with compatriot Trevor Fisher Jr. and Dane Jeff Winther one shot further back.
JC Ritchie shot a seven-under par 65 to move to nine-under for the tournament and he was joined by fellow South Africans amateur Kyle McClatchie and Dylan Frittlli, Englishman Richard Bland, Spain's Jorge Campillo, Italian Renato Paratore, France's Matthieu Pavon and Zimbabwean Scott Vincent.