Schneiter was at 4-under 212 overall for a one-shot lead over Kevin Burton and Tim Thelen going into Sunday's final round.
The winner will earn an exemption into six events on the PGA Tour next year, and the top 25 finishers qualify for the 85th PGA Championship in August at Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, N.Y.
The chance to play in the PGA Championship is a huge perk for these pros, who's careers generally revolve around giving lessons and managing courses.
'You've got to stay in the present, that's my goal' said Schneiter, who has never held a PGA Tour card. 'You can't get ahead of yourself. You've just got to let it happen.'
Burton, from Boise, Idaho, also shot 71 and had a share of the lead until he bogeyed the par-4 18th. He made an improbable par on the par-5 16th, where his second shot landed in knee-high rough next to a greenside bunker.
'I couldn't pitch it backward, I couldn't pitch it forward,' he said. 'I just wanted to slam the club down on it and hope it trickled out and at least went in the bunker.'
He did better than that. With the ball sitting about waist-high, Burton nearly got his third shot on the green and then got up and down from there.
Thelen, the tournament winner in 2000, shot 69 in a round that included five birdies and two bogeys. The pro from Richmond, Texas, is seeking his fifth straight top-10 finish in the event.
Florida's Alan Morin, who shared the second-round lead with Micah Rudosky, was two shots back at 214 after a third-round 74. Rudosky, from Cortez, Colo., took a quadruple-bogey eight on the par-4 7th hole en route to a 77 that left him five shots back of Schneiter.
This year's tournament is being played on the desert Twin Warriors course, north of Albuquerque. The course has been lengthened to 7,624 yards and the daily 20-30 mph wind has made it tough to break par. Only 14 players did it Saturday.
Copyright 2003 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.