Lorena Ochoa stayed ahead of the pack after overcoming blustery conditions to shoot a third-round 74 in the Kraft Nabisco Championship.
THIRD ROUND LEADERBOARD
US unless stated
-9 L Ochoa (Mex)
-6 M Wie
-4 S Hwa Lee (Kor), S Hyun Ahn (Kor), N Gulbis
-1 K Stupples (Eng)
level A Sorenstam (Swe)
+4 J Moodie (Sco)
+5 B Morgan (Wal)
+7 J Head (Eng)
The Mexican, who led after the opening two rounds is on nine under in the year's first major, three strokes clear of teenage superstar Michelle Wie.
The 16-year-old closed the overnight gap by one after a 73.
Kent's Karen Stupples leads the British challenge after a 72 for a share of eighth place on one under.
Ochoa, who opened with a course record 62, had a few wobbles as she chased her fourth LPGA title and a first major in her fourth season on Tour.
She had to hole from eight feet for bogey at the first after finding trouble in the rough and missed putts from almost tap-in range for a bogey at the short fifth and a par at the long 11th.
She bogeyed the 14th hole but then made pars the rest of the way, finishing with a tricky five-foot putt on the final hole.
Wie was also a little shaky on the greens, but she did strike a vital blow at the 13th - holing from 12 feet for bogey after sending her third shot into a bunker from deep rough just off the green and then getting a birdie at the 14th.
Three players shared third place, South Koreans Seon Hwa Lee and Shi Hyun Ahn plus American Natalie Gulbis, who had the best round of the day with a 68.
Stupples kept her cool with a run of pars from the ninth to the the end of her round, and is still hopeful of a move up the leaderboard.
"If I can get off to a hot start on Sunday then anything is still possible," she said.
"The greens are so hard and fast and it's so easy to make a mistake. "I was a bit up and down today. I squandered some chances but made some really good escapes for par so, overall, I'm pretty happy."