Zander Lombard continued his recent run of fine form to take a two shot lead into the weekend at the Nedbank Golf Challenge hosted by Gary Player.
On the same day that the final stage of the Qualifying School began, last season's joint winner carded a 65 to get to 11 under and lead the way from fellow South African Louis Oosthuizen.
Belgian Thomas Detry was then at seven under, a shot clear of 2017 Race to Dubai Champion Tommy Fleetwood and Swede Marcus Kinhult at the seventh Rolex Series event of the 2019 Race to Dubai.
Lombard endured a run of eight consecutive missed cuts between March and June but is now under par for 13 of his last 18 rounds, including a top ten at the Mutuactivos Open de España.
The two time European Tour runner up also has some pedigree in the Rolex Series, finishing in the top ten at the last two Dubai Duty Free Irish Opens.
"It was all positives and I really enjoyed it today," he said.
"We were just fighting for a birdie every hole, not looking at the leaderboard or figuring out if we were going to just make par, we were trying to make a birdie every hole. It was my mindset, I was being aggressive and being positive and it went my way today.
"I'm just going to keep doing what I'm doing, it seems to be working out there. I'm really placing the ball well and I'll see if I can do it for the weekend as well."
Detry and Oosthuizen both took advantage of the par five second but when the former lost his ball off the tee at the third, overnight leader Oosthuizen had a four shot advantage.
It was soon narrowed, however, as Detry holed from around 30 feet on the fifth to retake solo second at seven under.
Oosthuizen found sand off the tee at the seventh to drop a shot and with Detry making a birdie from ten feet, the lead was suddenly cut to one.
Detry went left off the tee again at the eighth to trail by two at the turn, and Lombard was just a single shot behind him.
The home favourite bogeyed the first but got up and down from sand for a birdie on the second before adding further gains on the fifth and eighth to turn in 34.
An eagle from the fringe at the tenth then moved him within one of the lead, a lead shared by Detry who made an eagle of his own from four feet on the same hole.
Lombard made it a three way tie with a slippery 15 footer on the 11th but Detry holed from 24 feet on the 12th and Oosthuizen put an approach to eight feet on the 13th.
A 15 foot putt from Lombard had him back in a share and his rivals started heading in the wrong direction, with Oosthuizen bogeying the 14th after a poor chip and both he and Detry three putting the 15th.
Lombard put a tee shot to six feet on the 16th to lead by two but Detry birdied the same hole from 12 feet before Oosthuizen followed him in.
Detry then put his tee shot on the 17th in the water and his second attempt was heading the same way before hitting the post of a windsock and staying dry.
Detry could not take full advantage of his good fortune, however, making a double bogey and dropping another shot on the last.
Fleetwood and Kinhult both carded rounds of 69 to sit a shot ahead of Dane Joachim B Hansen, England's Aaron Rai and Australian Jason Scrivener.
Kalle Samooja made the fifth albatross of the season and third in Rolex Series history as he holed a four iron from 235 yards on the tenth.