Defending champion Alexander Levy faltered down the stretch after a stellar start at the Volvo China Open on Saturday, setting up a four-way tie for the lead heading into the final round.

Levy sank four birdies in his opening four holes before mistakes started to creep into his game, allowing David Howell, Li Haotong and Wu Ashun to catch him at 8-under 208.

Levy, who settled for a 1-under 71, won his maiden European Tour title last year at the China Open and is aiming to be the first repeat champion in the 20-year history of the event.

Howell had five birdies in a seven-hole stretch to shoot a 68, while Li and Wu both carded 69s.

The leaders are two strokes ahead of a group of four golfers in joint fifth place.