Carl Yuan carded a 65 to take a one-shot lead into the weekend at the Australian PGA Championship but had former world number one Adam Scott breathing down his neck on the Gold Coast.
The 22-year-old Chinese picked up eight shots in his first 13 holes as he looked to take control of the final European Tour event of the calendar year, but bogeys on the 15th and 16th pegged him back.
A gain on the 17th then edged him back ahead at nine under but he had a host of home favourites chasing him down.
Anthony Quayle was the nearest challenger at eight under, one ahead of 2013 Masters champion Scott and Wade Ormsby.
Scott made an eagle and four birdies in his 67 as he looks to win this event for the second time after his triumph in 2013.
Scotland’s Calum Hill was seven shots off the lead after a level par 72.