Gardiner added a third round of 65 to lead the Australians although Matt Jones is just one shot behind Gardiner along with New Zealander Danny Lee and Marc Leishman another shot further back.
Gardiner's biggest cheque in seven years on the Nationwide and Web.Com Tour to date has been the US$90,000 he won for winning the Chattanooga Classic in 2010. Even a top ten this week will earn him considerably more than that.
Jones regained his playing rights at the PGA Tour School in December and Lee is a Monday qualifier for this week's event.
Leishman stormed home in 29 to give himself and outside chance of his second PGA Tour title but he will need a similar effort tomorow.