The top ten golfers with disability were all teeing it up at Wentworth Club and it was Popert, winner of the opening two events of the season, who edged ahead of World Number One Brandan Lawlor after a level-par 72.
“It was brilliant,” said Popert of playing on the West Course. "The greens were unbelievable. My caddie Ben has actually worked here before so he knew the course quite well…
"I have driven past it a few times so it was nice to be on the other side and playing well."
Popert started bogey-bogey but then rattled off four birdies in a row from the third before recording a double-bogey on the eighth in a roller coaster opening nine of 35.
He dropped shots on the 11th and 12th and trailed Lawlor, who had recovered from a bogey on the fourth with gains on the seventh and eighth as he turned in 34.
But the Irishman made a hat-trick of bogeys from the 14th as Popert finished birdie-birdie, with Lawlor also picking up a shot on the last to trim the gap to one.
Tuesday's final round will see Popert and Lawlor renew their long-standing rivalry and the Englishman is looking forward to the challenge as he targets his third win of the G4D Tour season.
Asked what impact his winning record would have going into the final day, he added: “It doesn’t change my mindset. I want to pick up as many titles as I can.
"It was nice to get a couple at the start of the season and I will try to finish the season strong and hopefully get a few more. I am looking forward to the battle [tomorrow].
"The weather is going to be quite tough. I will just go out and play well and see where I am when it finishes.”
Smith was level after 12 holes with four birdies and four bogeys but lost momentum on the way home, while Biggins coupled two birdies with five bogeys.