The American had gone round in a phenomenal career best-equalling 10 under par on Sunday and although he did not get close to matching that, he has a two-shot advantage over compatriot JJ Henry and England's Gary Christian.
Matteson picked up birdies on the first two holes as well as the 10th and 14th before bogeying the par-four 15th to go back to 13 under par overall.
And he was pleased with the way he handled the pressure of following up a stellar first round.
"It's just always tough when you shoot a low one to come to the golf course the next day," Matteson said. "I got here early. You get a little out of sync because you're anxious to get out there and play and see what you do.
"But, you know, all in all I felt pretty good with what we did today."
Henry threw himself into the mix with a fine seven-under-par 64, which featured five birdies in his last eight holes.
Christian is level after his 66, which featured an eagle on the par-five second hole to set his charge in motion. The 40-year-old had another four birdies and just a solitary bogey on the 15th.
Stricker, champion in each of the last three years, recovered from a bogey on his second hole - the 11th - to card a four-under round and stand out in a group of players tied for seventh which also included Tommy Biershenk and Lee Janzen.
Winning again would enable Stricker to fly to The Open next week having equalled the feat achieved by Young Tom Morris at Prestwick in 1968-72 and also by Walter Hagen at the USPGA Championship, Gene Sarazen in the Miami Open and Woods at both Bay Hill and the Buick Invitational.
"Kind of wasn't the start I was looking for," Stricker told www.pgatour.com. "I was hoping to get a birdie before I got a bogey - or no bogeys at all.
"But I hung in there. I was patient and hit some good shots. I made a nice long putt at 13 and birdied 14, so I righted the ship pretty quickly and got her going in the right direction."
As for the thought of a fourth straight win here, Stricker was just happy still to be around for the third round.
"You've got to make the cut to be able to try to win the tournament," Stricker said. "That's always my first goal, believe it or not, in tournaments: make sure you're playing on the weekend."
He is joined by fellow American Tommy Biershenk, who recorded his second score of 66 in as many days.
Ricky Barnes and Robert Garrigus are also on 10 under after eight and seven holes, respectively, while Ben Crane, YE Yang and John Senden are a further stroke behind on nine under.