At 7-under-par, Gilder is two shots clear of Mike Hill, Jim Dent and defending champion Larry Nelson.
Nelson is trying to put behind him a miserable final round in last weeks U.S. Senior Open, where he failed to post a birdie in a Sunday 75.
Jim Colbert would like to forget his double bogey on the 72nd hole a week ago at Salem Country Club. A par would have forced a playoff with eventual champion Bruce Fleisher; however, Colbert hit two horrendous shots and finished in a tie for fourth.
Friday, Colbert carded a disappointing 4-over-par 76. Despite birdieing the first hole, the 60-year-old made the turn in 3-over 39 and came home in 37.
Gilder is in search of his second victory of the season, but his first since the Verizon Classic in February.
'I came out (in Thursday's pro-am) and hit the ball real well,' said Gilder. 'It was a feeling that I had been looking for all year.'
Gilder, a rookie on Tour, was a modest 2-under-par through 12 holes, but eagled the par-5 13th when he chipped in from 35 feet to move to minus-4. He concluded his round with three consecutive birdies on holes 16-18.
'I was missing birdie putts and then all of a sudden a chip goes in for two birdies,' Gilder said. 'Of all of the shots that didn't look like they were going to go in, that was one of them.'
This week's winner will earn $210,000.
Full-field scores from the Farmer's Charity Classic