Canizares shot his second consecutive 5-under 67 Saturday to move ahead at Le Meridian Moscow Country Club, carding six birdies and one bogey in a third round that was highlighted by a little luck.
The most important moment in the Spaniard's day came when his ball rolled into a drain at the 17th, saving it from the water.
Canizares had already found water off the tee. Following his free drop from the drain, he chipped close and saved par.
'I got very lucky on 17,' said Canizares. 'I could have easily taken a seven or eight, but instead I made the par five. You need to have luck if you are going to win and I got my fair share of that today. Hopefully it can be the same again tomorrow.'
Canizares, who recently completed his golf scholarship at the Arizona State, is the son of four-time Ryder Cup player Jose Maria Canizares.
'I have had a great week so far,' the younger Canizares said. 'The thing for me this week is that everything is free for me. By that I mean that I am not expected to do this well because I am so new to this, so I am trying to remember that when I am playing because it means that I don't feel any pressure.'
Canizares, fourth after the second round, now stands at 16-under-par 200 for a one-shot lead over two players who held a share of the midway lead, fellow Spaniard Carlos Rodiles and David Drysdale of Scotland.
Drysdale and Rodiles both shot 3-under 69 to reach 15-under 201. Drysdale, who tied a course record with a 62 on Thursday, is feeling the fatigue of playing in 14 events in 15 weeks.
'I am so tired it's a joke,' he said. 'I just hope that I can put one more good round together, that's the only way that I can look at it.'
Sweden's Leif Westerberg fired a 63 and is alone in fourth place at 14-under 20, while Gary Murphy of Ireland had a 68 and is fifth at 13-under 203.
Defending champion Mikael Lundberg of Sweden, looking to become the first back-to-back winner here, sits sixth at 11-under 205 following a 70 on Saturday.