One off the pace at the halfway stage at Muthaiga Golf Club in Nairobi, the 25-year-old carded a five-under-par 66 in the penultimate circuit to move to 14-under-par.
An effort containing an eagle and four birdies left Ferguson, who graduated from the Challenge Tour at the end of last season, in a strong position as he bids to land Scotland’s first success on the circuit since Bob MacIntyre’s breakthrough victory in Cyprus in November 2020.
“It would be unbelievable to win obviously,” said the Glaswegian, who, at the same time, admitted the current events in Ukraine are a lot more important than what he is trying to achieve.
“I think with everything going on in the world right now, golf just means so little and I think that’s on the back of everyone’s minds,” he added.
“There’s so much other stuff going on, so I’ll try my best tomorrow and try to grind out the win. But, if it doesn’t happen, I’ll be back again for another chance. “
Ferguson, a former British and Scottish Boys’ champion, got his full DP World Tour career off to a promising start with a top-40 finish in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship in January.
He then caught Covid for a second time, forcing him to sit out the first out two events in Ras Al Khaimah then finishing close to last in the second one.
To his credit, he quickly dismissed that disappointment and has played some lovely stuff so far this week to open up a four-shot cushion over Swede Marcus Kinhult (64) and China’s Ashun Wu (66).
“I was playing really well coming into the day, made a nice birdie on one, which I think really settles you down a little bit,” said Ferguson of his day’s work.
“I made a couple of mistakes but got up and down from 70-80 yards for pars and that keeps the momentum going.
“I think that was the key today. I was holing clutch putts – three or four – to keep me going and I just played nicely and plodded my way around. “
Ferguson is bidding to become the sixth Scot to land the Kenya Open title after Brian Barnes (1981), Ken Brown (1983), Garry Harvey (1985), Craig Maltman (1993) and Mike Miller (1996).
“I just kind of wrote that Ras Al Khaimah tournament off because I was just sitting in my room for eight days (with Covid) and didn’t touch a club,” he added.
“I knew I had played well in Abu Dhabi, so went back home, practiced with my coach, spent some time with my family and didn’t let it get under my skin.”
After a 64 that contained nine birdies, Scott Jamieson sits in joint-12th on seven-under alongside fellow Scott Connor Syme (66), with Craig Howie (68) one further back. David Drysdale (69) and David Law (75) are on three-under and level-par respectively.
Elsewhere, the Saltire is also sitting at the top of the leaderboard in the Challenge Tour’s Mangaung Open in South Africa, where Craig Ross leads the way in an a completed third round.
With two holes to play, the 29-year-old sits on 19-under, having carded two eagles and five birdies to hold a one-shot lead at Bloemfontein Golf Club.
Ross, who won the South African Amateur Championship in 2016, is bidding to land his breakthrough success on the second-tier circuit in his first start of the season.
Meanwhile, Rory Franssen’s run in the Spanish Amateur Championship ended in the quarter-finals as he lost at the 19th to Norwegian Michael Mjaaseth in last eight at Sherry Golf.