Smith added a third round of 4-under 66 to opening efforts of 66-67 and at 11-under for the week sits five off the lead held by American Tom Hoge.
The Queenslander is alone in eighth position at the Waialae Country Club and not without a chance if he can produce something special on the final day.
Fellow Australian Marc Leishman fell off the pace with a disappointing over par effort Saturday, the Victorian tumbling more than 30 places down the leaderboard with a 1-over 71.
At T50 his chances of victory are gone and for the second straight week it is poor play in the third round to blame.
Leishman was also over par on day three when leading through 36 holes of last week’s Tournament of Champions where despite a gutsy fightback Sunday he finished 11 shots behind eventual winner Dustin Johnson.
Separating Leishman and Smith is Sydney’s Matt Jones who is on track for his best finish since returning to the main Tour via last year’s Web.com Finals.
Jones teed up four times before Christmas for two missed cuts and two mid-field finishes so at T28 with one round to play will be pleased with his form so far.
At the top of the leaderboard little known Hoge will take a one-shot lead into the final round but will need to be at his best Sunday with a talented leaderboard stacked up behind him.
Paton Kizzire, already a winner on the 2018 schedule, and overnight leader Brian Harman are just a shot adrift with multiple Tour winners Kyle Stanley and Chris Kirk one and two shots further back respectively.
Defending champion Justin Thomas, who shot 59 at this course a year ago on his way to a wire to wire victory, holds down a share of ninth place at 10-under.
Jordan Spieth’s rollercoaster tournament continued with the World Number Two posting his lowest score of the week, a 4-under 66 to be T28.
Spieth posted a humiliating quadruple bogey on day one and despite making more headlines with a 91 foot birdie putt yesterday, the longest of his professional career, has not had his A game this week.
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