Rose's great round, however, was not enough to overcome another stellar day by Jean Hugo. The South African, who held the first round lead, carded a 7-under 65 in which he birdied nine of the 18 holes he played, to gain first place as they head into Sunday.
Second round leader Tim Clark looked to be the man to beat as he came to the 16th hole with a comfortable three stroke lead, only to take disastrous quadruple bogey nine, in which he ended up chipping five times from the edge of the green.
'I guess it was the wrong shot. I tried to get too cute and I wont do it again. After a couple of misses my mind was a bit scrambled,' admitted Clark.
Clark's misfortune was of course many others gain, including Englishman Phil Golding.
Golding, coming out of his record 16th trip to the European Tour Qualifying School this past November, posted a course record 8-under-par 64 to move into a second place tie with Clark. A lone bogey was backed up with five birdies and two eagles, the last coming at the par-4 18th, where he holed his approach shot for eagle 2.
'This puts me in with a shout,' said Golding. 'It would be good to bank a decent check early on. If you can get off to a good start it takes a bit of pressure off.'
Joining Rose three shots off the pace and in a tie for fourth are Trevor Immelman, Brian Davis, Ian Hutchings and Rolf Muntz. Hutchings matched Golding with the low round of the day.
Rose, who next week will defend his title at the Dunhill Championship, hopes to get the ball rolling a week early in an attempt to top his break-out season last year.
Hugo, who finished 120th on the 2002 Order of Merit, didn't figure in Clark's collapse but will take it nevertheless.
'I am looking forward to the last round. I didnt expect to be in the lead and its an understatement to say that I want a good start. Its very important.'