Home favourite Bernd Ritthammer led the chasing pack as they piled the pressure on rookie overnight leader Robert MacIntyre on day three at the Porsche European Open.
MacIntyre produced a flawless 65 on Friday to earn his first lead in a European Tour event, powering ahead of German Ritthammer by four shots at 11 under par.
The 23-year-old’s reward for reaching the summit at the halfway point was to arrive at Green Eagle Golf Courses in the Leader’s Porsche, and looked relaxed at the first tee.
However, he saw his four shot lead reduced to just one after three holes before playing partner Ritthammer joined him at the top at nine under par following a composed front nine on his 100th European Tour event.
Italian Guido Migliozzi, Ryder Cup star Paul Casey and Spaniard Pablo Larrazábal were not far behind as the final pair led by two shots heading down the back nine.
MacIntyre was forced to save par at the first but Ritthammer produced a stunning approach to six foot from the fairway bunker following a wayward tee to cut into his playing partner’s lead.
The gap was cut to two shots when MacIntyre found the sand at the par three second and carded his first bogey in 27 holes to fall back to 10 under.
A three putt at the next saw MacIntyre slip to nine under as Ritthammer reduced the deficit to one stroke with a confident par, with Migliozzi going nicely just ahead of the final pair.
The Italian copied his second round card with a birdie at the first before his dialled his tee shot at the par three fifth to eight feet for his second gain and creep up to seven under alongside first round leader Casey.
The 13 time European Tour winner made a fast start with birdies at the second and third to get to that mark and should have improved have remained at seven under, only to miss his six foot par putt at the fourth.
Ritthammer and MacIntyre parred the fifth, with the latter desperately unlucky not record his first birdie of the third round at the difficult sixth.
As the Scot left his birdie putt hanging over the sixth cup, Migliozzi produced another superb tee shot at the eighth to join Ritthammer at eight under, while Casey picked up a shot at the seventh with a 25 foot putt.
MacIntyre remained at nine under following missed birdie chances at the seventh, eighth and ninth but his German playing partner fired in a superb approach from the rough to five feet to roll in his second gain to sit alongside the Scot at the top of the leaderboard.
Larrazábal started his round with a hat-trick of birdies and shot up to six under but back to back bogey from the fifth set the Spaniard, despite nearly holing out at the sixth.
The four time European Tour winner hit back with a gain at the eighth to turn in for 32 before beginning his back nine with successive birdies to join Casey and Migliozzi, who bogeyed the tenth, at seven under.
Evans was blemish free through 13 holes, picking up five shots before bogeying the 14th to sit one shot further adrift with Austrian Matthias Schwab.
Swede Niklas Lemke, Portugal’s Ricardo Gouveia and South African Louis de Jager round off the top ten at four under par.