The former Ryder Cup player, round in 70, finished with a superb 15-foot putt on the final green to catch Johnstone on 204, 12 under par overall. They are one shot ahead of Juan Quiros, but Quiros's fellow Spaniard Jose- Maria Olazabal, two shots off the pace, could prove the biggest threat.
Brand, 38, has won only one European PGA Tour event since he turned professional 18 years ago, but insists he will not be nervous as he bids today for the pounds 50,000 first prize, saying, 'I've been around too long to worry about what might happen.'
Both Peter Baker and the Australian Mike Clayton equalled the course record of 65, but the best golf came from Olazabal and the 27-year-old Dubliner Paul McGinley, who are joint fourth on 206.
Olazabal has not driven as well for more than two years, yet the putts just would not drop as they did on Friday when he equalled the course record, and he had to be content with a one-under-par 71.Reuse content