Matthew Fitzpatrick turned in 35 but saw his overnight lead cut to one shot on day three of the Scandinavian Invitation at Hills Golf & Sports Club.
The Englishman won this event in 2016 and another triumph would see him extend his record of claiming at least one victory every season since he came through the Qualifying School in 2014.
A one under par front nine moved him to 12 under, one clear of China's Wu Ashun, who had played ten holes.
South African Dean Burmester and Welshman Jamie Donaldson were in the clubhouse at ten under alongside flying Frenchman Alexander Levy, who had five holes to finish.
Local hero Henrik Stenson hit a poor opening tee shot into a penalty area and had to take a drop, leading to a double bogey and a fall down the leaderboard.
That left Wu as the nearest challenger to Fitzpatrick as he made smart up-and-downs on the first and second but he was soon three back as the leader made an excellent up-and-down of his own from the sand at the third.
Stenson got the biggest cheer of the day so far as he holed a long putt for a birdie on the third but he was two shots behind Burmester who set the clubhouse target with a big finish and matched the home favourite's lowest round of the week with a 62.
The big hitting 30-year-old birdied the third, fifth and seventh to turn in 33 and then eagled the driveable par four 12th before picking up another shot on the next.
A birdie-birdie finish then moved him into double figures.
Wu hit a stunning approach into the seventh to join Burmester at ten under and when Fitzpatrick failed to get up and down after a wide tee shot on the par three sixth, the lead was down to one.
Another excellent approach after laying up on the par five eighth then helped move Wu to 11 under and Fitzpatrick had company at the top of the leaderboard.
The 2016 Ryder Cup star was not in the mood to be caught, however, and he got on the eighth green in two to edge himself back ahead.
Levy has made just three cuts so far this season but he produced a brilliant run of scoring to get into contention for a sixth European Tour victory.
He had started his round with a bogey but made six birdies in a row from the seventh to catapult himself to double figures.
Donaldson then joined him there as he came home in 29 to sign for a 63.
The three time European Tour winner birdied the sixth but gave the shot straight back before making gains on the eighth, ninth, 12th, 13th, 14th, 16th and last.
Belgian Thomas Detry and England's Matthew Southgate were in the clubhouse at nine under alongside Ireland's Gavin Moynihan, a shot clear of a group of seven players.
Stenson was then five shots off the lead.
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