Indians Anirban Lahiri and Seenappa Chikkarangappa shot matching third rounds of 69 to share the lead in the Macao Open at 10 under par on Saturday.
The two close friends were one stroke ahead of a group of five players, including Thailand's Rattanon Wannasrichan who fired a sparkling 65 for the best round of the day.
"It'll be tough. Chikka is a fierce competitor. It'll be good to battle it out with him," said Lahiri, the reigning Asian Tour number one who won the Macao title in 2014 and was runner-up last year.
England's Ian Poulter, returning to tournament golf following a four-and-a-half month layoff with a foot injury, shot a level-par 71 to lie joint 14th at five under par.
(Reporting by Ed Osmond, editing by Ian Chadband)