Yuto Katsuragawa is on course to join this season's multiple winners' club after building a commanding four-shot lead into the final round of the Vantelin Tokai Classic as the international's challenge led by Australia's Anthony Quayle appeared to be fast fading.
The 23-year-old, who won the ISPS Handa Championship in April, shot a four-under-par 67 after firing six birdies to offset a double bogey on the par-three 16th hole at the Miyoshi Country Cub to break away from the chasing pack after reaching the 54-hole mark at 15-under 198.
In outright second on 11-under is another promising rookie Riki Kawamoto, who responded an early bogey on the third hole with six birdies for 66 to put himself in fringe contention to add a second title to the Sansan KBC Augusta triumph last month.
Veteran Yuta Ikeda carded a fine 67 to lie solo third on 10-under, three strokes ahead of current JGTO Money Rankings number one Kazuki Higa (67) and Ryuko Tokimatsu (69).
If he wins, Katsuragawa will become the fourth player to win two or more titles this season after Higa, who led the way with three victories, Shugo Imahira and Yuki Inamori (two each).
Quayle remained the best-placed international finisher despite struggling to a 72 to sit in a three-way tie for sixth at nine shots off the pace.
The 28-year-old was just four shots off the lead after a solid 66, but hopes of winning his first JGTO title took a huge hit no thanks to a slow start that saw him bogeyed holes eighth, nine and 10 to go three over after 11 holes.
To his credit, Quayle did fight back valiantly by picking up shots from the 12th, 15th and 17th holes to cover for another stroke squandered at the 13th.
Defending champion Chan Kim of the United States, who started the day in tied-48th, carded a superb 65 to shoot up to a share of ninth place on 208.
New Zealand Michael Hendry also shot a 65 to be the other biggest mover of the day as he improved 48 rungs to a tied 12th on 209 as Australian duo Brad Kennedy (70) and Adam Bland (73), American Todd Baek (72) all sit a further shot back in joint 18th.