Sergio Garcia shot a 4-under 66 on Saturday to grab a 1-stroke lead after three rounds of the Wyndham Championship at Sedgefield Country Club.
Garcia, who took fourth at this event in 2009, finished 54 holes at 14-under 196 and will go for his first tour win since the 2008 Players Championship.
Bud Cauley also shot 66 to move into second place at minus-13. He was joined there by Tim Clark, who had a 67.
Jason Dufner fired the low round of the day with a 7-under 63 and soared into a tie for fourth at 12-under 198 with 2008 winner Carl Pettersson and Harris English, who both shot 68 on Saturday.
U.S. Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III (66), Matt Every (68) and second-round leader Jimmy Walker (71) share seventh at minus-11.
Defending champion and U.S. Open winner Webb Simpson (71) is one stroke further back at 10-under.
While most of the focus this week is on players fighting to get into the top 125 on the FedExCup points list to make the playoffs, Garcia is trying to lock down a spot on the European Ryder Cup team.
When he failed to make the cut at the PGA Championship, the Spaniard lost his spot among the automatic qualifiers. A win this week would go a long way for his chance of making that team, and would nearly guarantee him a spot in the first three playoff events as well.
With as many as six different players owning at least a piece of the lead during the third round, it was Garcia who broke out of the pack.
He drained a 10-footer for birdie on the third and came back with a 6-foot birdie putt at No. 5 to join Clark in the lead at 12-under.
Garcia ran off six straight pars before making his move on the back nine.
He had again fallen behind Clark during his string of pars but followed a 4- foot birdie effort at the 12th with a 28-foot birdie putt on 13.
The second birdie moved him one clear of Clark at 14-under. Garcia missed the green at 14 and was unable to get up and down for his par. He found sand with his second shot to the par-5 15th, but blasted to two feet and kicked that in for birdie to regain the lead. He parred the final three holes to keep his lead.
"Definitely one of the goals. We played good enough to put ourselves in a decent position to have a shot tomorrow," Garcia said in a televised interview about winning this title. "We'll go out there tomorrow and hopefully play a little bit better than today and see if we can get it done."
Clark, who was paired with Garcia in the third round, birdied the first and third to move to 12-under, then ran off seven straight pars from the fourth.
The 2010 Players champion rattled his approach off the stick at the 11th. His ball settled inches from the cup and he tapped in for birdie.
Clark came up short of the green at the par-3 12th, leading to a bogey. He bounced back with a short birdie on 13th to get back to 13-under and parred the final five holes to end one back.
Cauley dropped in back-to-back birdies at four and five and after seven consecutive pars, he tripped to a bogey on the 13th. Cauley poured in three straight birdies from the 15th to get to 13-under.
NOTES: Garcia has held a piece of the 54-hole lead seven times on the PGA Tour, but has gone on to win just two of those events...After three rounds, only Heath Slocum was projected to move into the top 125 on the FedExCup points list...Simpson is trying to become the first repeat winner at this event since Sam Snead in 1955-56...Lucas Glover withdrew due to a knee injury and Tom Gillis pulled out due to illness.