Montgomerie was part of an eight-way tie for the lead when play was abandoned on Friday due to heavy rain but found himself two adrift of halfway leader Marco Dawson when the third round eventually got underway on Saturday afternoon.
The 52-year-old go made a flying start with a hat-trick of birdies to move alongside Dawson at the top of the leaderboard, before the pair added gains at the ninth just before the horn was sounded by tournament officials just before 9pm.
???I started off well and kept it going, so I look forward to tomorrow,??? Montgomerie said. ???It was exactly what I wanted.???
Philip Golding was the biggest mover of the day, with the Irishman six under for the round and within two of the leaders with one hole to play.
Five birdies on the front nine saw Golding surge up the leaderboard and join former Masters champion Fred Couples on eight under, with defending champion Bernhard Langer part of the group a further shot back.
Langer rolled in a birdie at the first but is level par for the round through nine after a blemish at the fourth, while Miguel Angel Jimenez is alongside him after opening with an eagle at the par-five.??
Australia’s Peter Fowler recovered from starting with back-to-back bogeys to get back under par for the round after ten holes, with Tom Watson back in the clubhouse having completed a third-round 66.
Two early blemishes drops China’s Lianwei Zhang in to a tie for 20th, while 1989 Open champion Mark Calcavecchia is four over for the round with seven to play after carding two double-bogeys in three holes before darkness brought a halt to proceedings.??
Play will now resume at 8am on Sunday morning, with the final round expected to begin around 11.30am.??