Hoch, who earlier in the week complained that the rough was three inches shorter than normal, shot a 5-under-par 67 to grab sole possession of the lead entering Sundays final round at Forest Oaks Country Club.
At 13-under-par, the 45-year-old Hoch is one-shot lower than Jerry Kelly (65), David Berganio, Jr. (68) and 36-hole leader Mike Sposa (70).
Fellow 45-year-old Scott Simpson, who led after 18 holes, is just two off the pace after a round of 2-under-par 70. Simpson is tied for fifth place with Japans Kaname Yokoo, who fired a 7-under-par 65 in the third round.
Twenty-eight players are within five shots of the lead. Defending champion Hal Sutton is six back. He celebrated his 43rd birthday Saturday with a 4-under-par 68.
They are hungry, but Im pretty hungry too, said Hoch, in reference to the lack of notable names on the crowded leaderboard. Theyve got something to play for and so do I.
With the late Payne Stewarts former caddie, Mike Hicks, on his bag, Hoch made a strong bid Saturday to notch his first PGA Tour victory since the 1997 Greater Milwaukee Open ' a span of 94 events.
The former Wake Forest Demon Deacon birdied five of his first ten holes before three-putting from 90 feet on No. 12 and from 45 feet on No. 14.
Still, he rebounded by sinking a 15-foot birdie putt at the 16th and then saved par by dropping in a six-footer at the last.
At my age I never know how many chances I have to win, Hoch said. In that regard, I will have a lot to play for.
Sposa got off to a hot start, birdieing three of his first seven holes. However, the 31-year-old could only manage one birdie to two bogeys over his final 11 holes.
Its probably better for me to me one back, not sleep on the lead, Sposa said. I am still in great position.
Kelly, who led after three rounds of this years Players Championship before finishing fifth, chipped in on the 18th after dropping away from a sprinkler head behind the green to join the fray.
I am feeling much more comfortable with the pressure, Kelly said.
Hoch wasnt going to play this week, but once he saw good weather was forecasted, he made the trip. Once in Greensboro, Hoch called PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem to protest the length of the rough, which is half the length of the usually nasty six inches.
Shorter rough favors longer hitters. Hoch is quite accurate, but ranks 132nd on the tour in driving distance.
I just want to prove to myself or whoever else that I can still play, that I can still win a tournament, said Hoch. This is for my own benefit more than anything else.
Full-field scores from the Greater Greensboro Chrysler Classic