D.J. Trahan carded a 1-under 71. He was joined in a tie for second place at 6-under-par 210 by former major championship winners Jim Furyk (69) and Vijay Singh (71). Nick Price, a three-time major champion, stands alone in fifth place at 5-under-par 211.
Garcia opened with a 3-foot birdie putt on the first to move two strokes clear of Trahan. However, Garcia stumbled to a double bogey at the par-4 fourth to slip back into a tie for the lead alongside Trahan.
After a Trahan birdie on the fifth, Garcia chipped inside 1 foot of the cup at the same hole and kicked in the birdie to join Trahan at minus-7. Garcia and Trahan each two-putted for birdie on the par-5 seventh to remain atop the leaderboard.
Trahan, playing one group ahead of Garcia, again moved one shot clear with a birdie on the 10th. However, that would be the last he saw of first.
Garcia matched Trahan's birdie on the 10th at Quail Hollow Club. Trahan faltered to a bogey at the 11th to give Garcia the lead.
The 25-year-old Garcia kept pouring it on with a 7-foot birdie putt at the 11th to move to 10-under, two strokes clear of the field. The five-time winner lost his drive into the trees right of the fairway at the 12th.
Garcia ended up bogeying the 12th, but no matter as he bounced back strong. He came back with a birdie on No. 13, then drained a 10-foot birdie putt on the 14th to take a four-shot lead at minus-11.
The Spaniard made it three straight as he two-putted for birdie on par-5 15th.
'I hit some really good, quality shots coming in,' said Garcia, who won twice in 2004. 'I got on a great stretch from 10 to 15, and unfortunately only that one bad drive on 12, but I don't know, I guess you can't hit them all well.'
He went on to par his final three holes.
'I felt like I played pretty solid all day,' Garcia stated. 'I started very well with a birdie on one, and that got me going a little bit. Both times I made a bogey or a double, I came back nicely with a birdie on the next. That gets you going. That was really nice.'
Furyk also used a solid back nine to climb the leaderboard. The former U.S. Open champion bogeyed the third and fourth, but got those strokes back with birdies on five and seven.
The 34-year-old dropped in back-to-back birdies from the 10th and again from the 13th to jump to 7-under. Furyk however tripped to a bogey on No. 16 to end at minus-six.
'The wind definitely died down as they predicted yesterday, but the course definitely firmed up a little bit,' said Furyk. 'Some of those greens were relatively firm out there, pins were in some tough spots and I think the scores reflected it. You're going to get in some tough places out here, that's just the way this golf course is.'
Trahan kept pace early on with Garcia with birdies on one, five and seven. The 24-year-old collected his final birdie on the 10th to move to 9-under. However, he slipped to a bogey at 11 and another at 14. Trahan's fall was not done as he bogeyed the 17th to finish in a tie for second.
Singh carded a lone bogey to go with one birdie over his first 10 holes. At the 11th, the world's No. 2 stumbled to another bogey to fall to minus-4. Singh came back with a birdie on the 14th and got to 6-under with a birdie on the par-4 16th. He parred the final two holes.
Joey Sindelar, the defending champion, struggled to a 1-over 73. He was joined in a tie for sixth at 4-under-par 212 by Greg Owen, who shot a 71 in the third round.
Scott Verplank, Dean Wilson, Richard S. Johnson, Kenny Perry and Patrick Sheehan share eighth at minus-three.