Rafa Cabrera-Bello (Getty Images)
Spain’s Rafael Cabrera-Bello carded a flawless five under par 67 to catch Luke Guthrie at the top of the BMW Masters presented by SRE Group leaderboard.
Cabrera-Bello, a two-time European Tour winner, birdied the first two holes of his third round and kept that momentum going with birdies at the seventh and 11th at Lake Malaren.
A brilliant tee shot at the short 17th left a three footer for birdie, and after converting that the 29 year old got up and down from sand at the last to set the clubhouse target at eight under par.
That was still one behind Guthrie at the time, but the American took three shots on the final green – the first of them a pitch onto a bank that ran six feet past – and bogeyed for a level par 72.
“Really happy to keep playing good and happy, also, to put a good round together and be in contention tomorrow,” said Cabrera-Bello, who shot to prominence when he matched The European Tour’s lowest round of 60 to win the 2009 Austrian Open.
“I started with two birdies today, which was good. It gave me confidence straightaway, and then I just stayed calm, one shot at a time, and today it worked.
“I'm happy, I'm proud, I'm confident and I'm enjoying the tournament so far, so hopefully tomorrow I can keep those feelings and take them on to the golf course with me, go out there, play my best and enjoy.”
Guthrie led by four at the halfway stage of the first event of The Race to Dubai’s Final Series, and held the same margin when he chipped in for birdie at the eighth.
The 23 year old came up short of the ninth green and missed the putting surface with his tee shot at the 12th for bogeys either side of a gain at the tenth.
A birdie at the long 13th followed, but Guthrie found sand at the 15th and 16th before finding an awkward spot on the final green as the field closed in.
“At the beginning the week, if I was tied going into the fourth round tied for the lead, I'd have taken it,” said the World Number 85.
“As today went it was a little frustrating. When I made a couple birdies, I seemed to step on my own foot a few times. Like at 18, I didn't hit my greatest shot obviously, but wish I didn't have to chip it on the green to get it close.
“Overall I was hitting it well, putting well, and just let a few shots get away toward the end and that's never fun really. I'm tied for the lead going into tomorrow and I'm excited.”
Cabrera-Bello’s compatriot Gonzalo Fernandez-Castaño recovered from hitting his tee shot into the water at the 17th with a fine approach to six feet at the last for a 67 that leaves him one off the pace in third, with Gregory Bourdy in fourth on six under.
The Frenchman holed a remarkable 100 foot putt for birdie at the ninth and held his nerve from 12 feet for par at the last to shoot 67.
Race to Dubai leader Henrik Stenson shot a 79 that left the door ajar for his rivals in the battle to become European Number One to make inroads into his advantage.
Simon Dyson's chances of victory had earlier disappeared when he was disqualified for signing for an incorrect score in the second round.
The 35 year old, six times a winner on The European Tour and joint second at halfway, failed to add a two shot penalty to his card after an incident on the eighth hole, when he touched the line of his putt after marking his ball.
European Tour Chief Referee John Paramor said in a statement: "Simon Dyson has been disqualified from the BMW Masters presented by SRE Group under the rules of golf (6-6d). Simon was found to have breached rule 16-1a, which states that a player must not touch his line of putt.”
Dyson's disqualification dealt a huge blow to his chances of making the lucrative Race to Dubai finale.
Only the top 60 are eligible for the final event, with Dyson currently ranked 66th. He will now need a good performance in either the WGC-HSBC Champions or Turkish Airlines Open presented by the Ministry of Tourism and Culture to qualify for the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai.