The 25-year-old from Blairgowrie carded eight birdies as he signed for a seven-under 64 in the penultimate circuit at Kaskada Golf Resort in Brno to join Italy’s Lorenzo Scalise, German Marcel Schneider, Norway’s Kristian Krogh Johannessen and Denmark’s Nicolai Kristensen in a tie for top spot on 12-under.
Neil, who held a European Tour card in 2018, sits 169th in the Road to Mallorca Rankings after making just two cuts in nine starts this season.
But, boosted by his lowest round for two years, the 2014 Amateur champion is hoping to add a second Scottish success of the 2021 campaign following Craig Howie’s breakthrough win in Sweden in May.
“Obviously I want to win,” said Neil of his aim heading into the closing circuit. “I’ve always wanted to win an event and I remember I was really close two weeks in a row four years ago when I got off the Challenge Tour.
“Watching Craig Howie win this year was fantastic and seeing other Scottish players do it kind of gives you that spur where you think ‘I can do that as well’.
“You watch what they go through after a win and it is so much fun and you want to have a bit of that.
“It’s been a tough year so far, but I’m playing good golf. Whether that continues tomorrow, who knows? We’ll see what happens.”