Lee Slattery was quickly joined at the top of the leaderboard as the final round of the Italian Open began at Gardagolf Country Club.
The Englishman had raced to 16 under with a brilliant 62 on Saturday, but on a star-studded leaderboard an opening par was not enough to defend his lead.
Italian Francesco Molinari, chasing a fourth national open a week after winning at Wentworth, birdied the first from ten feet.
And Dane Thorbjorn Olesen, playing alongside Slattery, converted from 12 feet on the same hole.
The trio were one ahead of Lee Westwood, who was on course to set the clubhouse target at six under through 13 holes, with veteran Miguel Angel Jimenez, Spain's Rafa Cabrera Bello and English trio Callum Shinkwin, Jordan Smith and Danny Willett a shot further back.
Slattery remained 17 under heading into the closing holes but Olesen and Molinari surged clear be reaching 20 under with three holes to play.
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