Used to playing from behind, she will carry a two-shot lead into the final round of the Wendy's Championship for Children after firing the low round of the tournament on Saturday, an 8-under 64.
Seeking her third win of the season, the LPGA Tour's second-leading money winner avoided any bogeys Saturday and moved to 17-under-par 199 for a two- shot lead over second-round co-leader Jee Young Lee.
Ochoa told her caddie before the round that she wanted to celebrate her mother's birthday by shooting 10-under -- a number that would have tied the tournament scoring record.
'We tried really hard and we came close,' said Ochoa, who closed with two straight pars. 'It was one of those days I tried to enjoy as much as I could for my mom. It's nice to be in the lead.'
Ochoa, already a winner at the Takefuji Classic and Sybase Classic this season, continues to build on a career year.
Enjoying the par-72 layout at Tartan Fields Golf Club, she has hit 41 fairways and 41 greens in regulation so far this week.
'Being in the lead is so exciting -- how you play and how you feel under pressure,' Ochoa said. 'I can only say that this is a good golf course. I know this is a course where everyone can make birdies and go low.
'I have to be really focused on my game and not look at other players (tomorrow) and hopefully it will be fine and I'll get that trophy.'
One thing Ochoa knows she will have to do Sunday is attack the par-5s. In her first three rounds, she has played them at 7 under without a bogey.
'It's important that you take advantage of those,' she said.
Ochoa was ousted from the LPGA money lead by Karrie Webb, while the Mexican took a two-week break from the tour. After Saturday's round, it was clear she wanted the title back.
'That's my goal, for sure, not only this week but to be in that position at the end of the year,' Ochoa admitted. 'It's a race to be the money leader.'
Lee, who shared the lead with Soo-Yun Kang overnight, had a 4-under 68 on Saturday and is at 15-under 201 and chasing her second LPGA win.
Ai Miyazato and Stacy Prammanasudh both had 5-under 67s on Saturday and share third place at 13-under 203. One shot behind them are 2005 Rookie of the Year Paula Creamer (69), Michele Redman (67) and Marisa Baena (71).
Defending champion Cristie Kerr, who was three shots off the lead overnight, is now seven strokes adrift after a 3-under 69.
Kerr opened her third round with a pair of bogeys, but rebounded by going 4-under the rest of the way, gaining a little help from an eagle at the par-5 11th.
Undone by a bogey at 12 and a double-bogey at the 17th, Kang shot a 3-over 75 and fell into a tie for 18th place at 8 under.