(CNN) -- Luke Donald of England and Welshman Rhys Davies are two shots ahead of a classy chasing pack going into Sunday's final round of the Madrid Masters.
Donald, who is looking to end a frustrating winless streak, shot a four-under 68 on the Real Sociedad Hipica Espanola Club de Campo course while Davies went one better with a 67.
Halfway leader Donald looked set to hold onto the honor until European Tour rookie Davies birdied two of the final three holes to join him on 16-under 200.
Ryder Cup star Donald is looking to make amends after taking a seven at the penultimate hole of last week's PGA Championship where he lost out by a shot to Simon Khan.
Donald's last title was the Honda Classic on the PGA Tour in 2006 and he has not won in Europe since 2004.
"To rebound from the disappointment of last week and be in contention shows a lot about my character," he told the official European Tour Web site.
"I was struggling a bit off the tee on the back side. Not to have a bogey was good, but it would have been nice to make a couple more birdies."
Davies, who has already won in Morocco in his maiden season, mixed eight birdies with a double bogey and a bogey on the front nine.
"I made two little errors, very minor, and got severely punished for both," he said.
But Donald and Davies will not have it all their own way in the final round with Italian star Francesco Molinari in third place on 202 after a superb 65.
Home hope Alvaro Quiros is shot further back in fourth after a course record-equaling 64 as he bids for his second win on Spanish soil.
England's Graeme Storm, who set the previous record on the second day, is next best on 204.
Meanwhile, Phil Mickelson's bid to overtake Tiger Woods at the top of the world rankings ended in failure at the Colonial tournament on the PGA Tour.
Mickelson comfortably missed the halfway cut as he finished two rounds on four-over par, six shots outside the qualification mark.
The world number two shot birdies on his opening two holes in round one, but fell off the pace by shooting six-over for his last 34 holes.