Hainan: Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell will head into the final round of the World Cup with a two-stroke lead after a convincing performance for Ireland in the fourballs on Saturday.
The Irish duo hit eight birdies to finish the third round with an 8 under 64, and a 21 under total of 195 at the Mission Hills complex.
However, second-ranked McIlroy and 2010 US Open champion McDowell will be unable to rest easy on Sunday with the threatening presence of Germany, South Africa and a resurgent United States all tied for second on 197.
Germany's surge up the leaderboard caught the eye of the modest crowds who endured the squally conditions.
Martin Kaymer and Alex Cekja sank 11 birdies in their 11 under 61 on the Blackstone course carved out of cooled lava rock.
That feat was matched by South Africans Charl Schwartzel and Louis Oosthuizen who also managed a 61.
The US team of Gary Woodland and Matt Kuchar laid its claim to the trophy with 10 birdies and one bogey in a 9 under 63.
Early trailblazers Australia slipped to fifth place on 198 as Brendon Jones and Richard Green made heavy weather of frequent squalls on the wet and humid course with a 67.
Edoardo and Francesco Molinari put defending champions Italy back into contention with an 8 under 64 that left them tied for seventh with Mexico on 16 under.
But Ian Poulter and Justin Rose of England saw their hopes of lifting the trophy slip in the inclement conditions, carding two bogeys in their four under 68. They have a share of 15th with Zimbabwe on 13 under.
Zhang Xinjun and Liang Wenchong dashed any hopes of a victory on home soil, as the Chinese pair slipped to joint 17th on 12 under.
Sunday's final round of the US$7.5 tournament will see a return to the tricky foursomes alternate shot format.
The World Cup features 28 teams and is being staged biennially following golf's inclusion in the Olympics from Brazil 2016.