At 12-under-par 204, he leads by just a stroke over Scott Laycock and second round leader David Podlich. Podlich, who entered the day with a one-stroke lead, posted two double-bogeys on his front nine to shoot 72.
Meanwhile, American youngster David Gossett sits in outright fourth. He likewise shot a 72 on this difficult day for scoring, but at 9-under for the tournament, is well within striking distance of the leaders.
Gardiner may be a tough man to catch, however. And had it not been for a birdie attempt that just lipped out at the 18th green on Saturday, his lead might have been two.
'I played aggressive and that's what happens,' he commented on his round. 'Sometimes you make a lot of birdies, and if you happen to be a bit off on some holes you might make a couple of bogeys. But you don't win golf tournaments by playing conservative.'
While chances are that Gardiner will continue his aggressive play into the final round, no one should forget that Gossett is no stranger to posting low numbers either.
In fact, it was not that long ago that the 1999 U.S. Amateur champion carded a bogey-free 59 in his attempts to make the PGA Tour through Qualifying School. Unfortunately, he did not make the cut, and finds himself this week in Australia, not Hawaii or Tucson.
Nevertheless, he is in prime position to claim the first professional victory of his young career.
But he, along with the three players ahead of him, will first have to figure out a way to shoot an adequate final score in conditions that are expected to see the temperature reach well above 100 degrees with a continuing strong wind.