The 23-year-old niece of Tiger Woods had a three-round total of 12-under 207 at the Royal Pines Resort.
Stacey Lee Bregman of South Africa, who shared the lead with Woods at the start of the round, had a 72 to hold second place, a stroke ahead of 17-year-old Minjee Lee, the Australian amateur champion, who shot a 69.
Woods mixed seven birdies with five bogeys in a choppy third round, finishing strongly with four birdies on her last five holes.
Bregman had four birdies and three bogeys, taking second place with a long birdie putt at the par-5 18th.
Woods acknowledged she felt nervous through the round, and such anxiety will only heighten on Sunday as she tries to join her famous uncle among golf's trophy winners.
"I'm proud with how I was able to fight through today," she said. "Tomorrow's just going to be another day to get through.
"It would be a huge accomplishment (to win). Playing well this week, I'm already happy with how it's been going but to have that win would just be the cherry on top. Especially to start out my year."
Lee made a strong, double-birdie finish to her round, giving her confidence to press for a professional win.
"This is what every golfer wants really," Lee said. "I'll just play my own game and see where it takes me."
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