Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. Luke Donald's nearest rivals spent Saturday alternating birdies and bogeys with regularity, an approach that let each taste a lead most couldn't wind up sustaining.
Meanwhile, Donald kept escaping trouble and slowly crept into the top spot at the Honda Classic.
Donald's five-birdie, one-bogey round of 68 left him 9 under entering the tournament's final round and sharing the top spot with Billy Mayfair - who eagled the 17th hole to highlight his even-par 72 and reclaim a portion of the lead.
"I played solidly and didn't really have too many mistakes," said Donald, the English player whose only tour win was at the 2002 Southern Farm Bureau Classic. "A lot of good driving, a lot of good iron playing, holed a few putts."
Nationwide Tour graduate Jeff Gove (69) was one shot back, and Daniel Chopra and Match Play winner Geoff Ogilvy were 7 under after 71s.
Ogilvy made his third double-bogey of the week during his round. And David Toms made a slower, more pronounced slide - the first- and second-round leader bogeyed four of his final six holes, shot a 76 and fell to 6 under with Mathias Gronberg (72).