The Englishman led a strong home presence at the top of the leaderboard in the third event of the UK Swing, matching the lowest nine holes of this season's Race to Dubai in a 62 that moved him to 14 under.
Sullivan was a three time winner on the European Tour in 2015, and has shown some good form after the coronavirus hiatus, finishing in a share of fourth at the Betfred British Masters hosted by Lee Westwood.
Canter made a fast start with birdies on the first, second and fourth and while he dropped a shot on the sixth, further gains on the seventh and ninth had him in front at the turn.
Sullivan turned in 34 with birdies on the first, sixth and ninth and a single dropped shot on the eighth but really came to life on the back nine.
A gain on the tenth was followed by a two putt birdie on the par five 12th and he put an approach to four feet on the 13th.
A seven footer on the next had him in a share of the lead but Canter responded from six feet on the 12th to edge back in front.
Sullivan was relentless and he holed a long putt from the fringe on the 15th and hit a tee shot to 18 feet at the par three 16th to make it five in a row and get his nose in front.
But Canter made a long putt of his own on the 14th and then put an approach to three feet on the next to once again lead the way.
Sullivan's second into the last was to similar range and he joined the lead with a seventh gain on the back nine, before Canter got in trouble off the tee at the 17th to drop a shot.
Burmester turned in 35 as he sandwiched a bogey on the second with birdies on the first and ninth but he matched Sullivan's score coming in as he finished his round with eight consecutive threes.
The big-hitter eagled the 12th and followed it with three birdies to shoot up the leaderboard.
He needed to get up and down for par at the 16th but was back on the birdie trail on the next before holing from 15 feet on the last to join playing partner Canter in second.
Johnston is back on the UK Swing after withdrawing from the Betfred British Masters hosted by Lee Westwood as he candidly admitted to struggling with the restrictions of the health protocols.
Fast forward two weeks and likeable 31-year-old looked to be adjusting brilliantly to life in the bubble, carding a bogey free 65 with birdies on the first, fifth, seventh, ninth, tenth and 14th.
Like Johnston, Bland had briefly shared the lead with a birdie on the 16th following gains on the first, third, fifth, seventh and 14th and a bogey on the 11th. He gave the shot straight back on the penultimate hole but birdied from six feet at the last.
Donaldson made eight birdies and a single bogey in a brilliant round of 64, while Colsaerts and Stone both made six birdies with a single dropped shot.