The Frenchman began the day as joint leader with compatriot Julien Quesne but burst out of the blocks in Shanghai, recording four consecutive birdies to start his round as he moved clear in his bid to become the first man to defend the title.
However, a bogey-five followed at the fifth, before two more came on the par-fours 14 and 15 and he failed to take advantage of the generous par-five last to signed for a one-under-par 71 and eight-under total.
That total was also achieved earlier in the day by Englishman David Howell and local hopes Wu Ashun and Li Hao-tong.
Howell registered five birdies in seven holes from the par-four seventh in his round of 68, while Li and Wu both signed for solid 69s as the local duo seek to become the first Chinese winners on the European Tour.
Former U.S. Amateur champion Richie Ramsey (70) was among a group of four players tied for fifth on six-under.
Quesne fell into a share of 10th at four-under after a disappointing round of 76 which featured three bogeys and two double bogeys. –Reuters
Original source: Four-way lead at China Open