Local hope Masamichi Uehira fired a third round score of six-under-par 65 for a narrow one-shot lead over Filipino sensation Juvic Pagunsan at the Asia-Pacific Panasonic Open golf here Saturday. India's Shiv Kapur was tied 11th.
It was Uehira's best score of the week as he returned with 14-under-par 199 but has nine players who are within four shots off the pace at the $1.9 million event sanctioned by the Asian Tour and Japan Golf Tour.
Kapur (69) and got up to sixth place alongside Australia's Cameron Smith, Gunn Charoenkul of Thailand and South Korea's Hwang Jung-gon.
Pagunsan, the reigning Asian Tour number one, was leading for most of the round but dropped bogeys on 13 and 15 to settle for 67 at the Higashi Hirono Golf Club.
Japanese Tomohiro Kondo, Koumei Oda and Masahiro Kawamura were a further shot back while overnight leader Hiroyuki Fujita posted a 70 to lie in tied sixth place on 202.
Wu Ashun (67) of China, who played on the Asian Tour in 2008 and 2009, and Darren Beck (70) of Australia both shot hole-in-ones on holes seven and 11 respectively and are four shots back.
Uehira surprised even himself when he jumped into the lead courtesy of sharp shooting iron play and two closing birdies.
Pagunsan, who is aiming to end a five-year title drought on the Asian Tour, got off to a hot start with three straight birdies and turned in 30 where he held a three-shot lead before wobbling in the last six holes.
Beck, whose game has improved since going for yoga lessons, was three-over for the day at the turn until his five-iron tee shot rolled into the par three 11th hole for his first ace in a tournament. He added two further birdies on 13 and 18 to stay in contention.
Wu, who won his first title in Japan two weeks ago, aced the seventh hole with a nine iron and added four further birdies before dropping two shots on 17 when his tee shot landed in the water.
Scores After Round 3:
199 - Masamichi Uehira (JPN) 66-68-65.
200 - Juvic Pagunsan (PHI) 67-66-67.
201 - Tomohiro Kondo (JPN) 66-69-66, Masahiro Kawamura(JPN) 70-65-66, Koumei Oda (JPN) 64-69-68.
202 - Yusaku Miyazato (JPN) 64-70-68, Hiroyuki Fujita (JPN) 64-68-70.
203 - Wu Ashun (CHN) 67-69-67, Hideto Tanihara (JPN) 67-67-69, Darren Beck (AUS) 68-65-70.
204 - Cameron Smith (am, AUS) 67-71-66, Gunn Charoenkul (THA) 70-68-66, Hwang Jung-gon (KOR) 67-70-67, Shiv Kapur (IND) 67-68-69.
205 - Masanori Kobayashi (JPN) 74-64-67, Yui Ueda (JPN) 70-68-67, S.K. Ho (KOR) 68-70-67, Yoshinobu Tsukada (JPN) 68-69-68, Toru Taniguchi (JPN) 67-69-69, Kunihiro Kamii (JPN) 69-72-64.