Former world number one Jason Day hit the front by two strokes following the third round of the Wells Fargo Championship.
Day was tied for second heading into Saturday's penultimate round but the Australian star soared to the top of the leaderboard thanks to a four-under-par 67.
Adrift of overnight leader Peter Malnati by one shot at the halfway mark, Day's second successive 67 – which included five birdies and just one bogey – saw the 2015 US PGA Championship winner put himself in the box seat for his first title since January's Farmers Insurance Open.
American Nick Watney is two shots off the pace following his third-round 66 at Quail Hollow.
Watney climbed five positions to eight under through 54 holes thanks to seven birdies, despite double-bogeying the 10th.
Peter Uihlein is a stroke further back, having threatened to break the course record in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Rory McIlroy set the record with a 61 three years ago and Uihlein fell just one stroke short following his nine-under-par 62.
Three consecutive pars to close out the round prevented Uihlein from breaking the record as the red-hot American finished the day tied with Bryson Dechambeau (66), Paul Casey (69) and Aaron Wise (70).
Phil Mickelson (64) is five under overall, a shot ahead of fellow American star Rickie Fowler (68).
McIlroy enjoyed an improved display Saturday, however, the four-time major champion languishes seven shots behind Day.
The Northern Irishman recovered from Friday's 76 with a five-under-par 66 to be level alongside the likes of Malnati (75) and Chesson Hadley (66).
Tiger Woods, meanwhile, finally broke into the 60s as he moved into a tie for 31st – nine strokes from the lead.
Back at Wells Fargo for the first time since 2012, the 14-time major winner posted a three-under 68.