Tied with Padraig Harrington on the par-5 18th, and with the Irishman hitting a tidy wedge to 12 feet, Love holed out from 111 yards for eagle and a 1-up victory that sent him one step closer to a World Golf Championship that has teased him over its eight-year history.
Love was hammered by Tiger Woods in the semifinals in 2000, then lost to Woods again in the finals two years ago. At least he doesn't have to worry about Woods this year, since the world's No. 1 player was eliminated Friday.
Love is the highest seed remaining at No. 23 and faced Zach Johnson, a 3-and-2 winner over Retief Goosen, in the 18-hole semifinal Saturday afternoon.
Even with the biggest names no longer at La Costa, the golf was no less entertaining.
Marathon man Geoff Ogilvy continued his amazing run by going extra holes for the fourth straight day, a record at the Accenture Match Play Championship. This time, he hit the 18th green in two for a birdie to go overtime against David Howell, then holed a 20-foot birdie on No. 10 to beat the Englishman in 19 holes.
Ogilvy, unable to defend his title in Tucson this week because he qualified for the 64-man field at La Costa, now has played 80 holes in the first four rounds.
He next plays Ryder Cup captain Tom Lehman, who outlasted Chad Campbell in a sloppy match that went 21 holes.
Winless the last three years on the PGA Tour, Love has never had such a great opportunity in the Match Play Championship, even though he wobbled after a great start against Harrington.
He shot 33 on the front and was 2 up on Harrington, holding onto a slim margin that finally disappeared when Love bogeyed the 17th to square the match. Harrington, who knocked out Vijay Singh in 19 holes on Friday, thought he might be going overtime again until Love's wedge landed behind the hole and spun back in for eagle.
'It's actually not a tough way to lose,' Harrington said. 'I was expecting Davis to get up-and-down on the last and I'd have to hole mine out to go to 19. I was prepared for that, but maybe not prepared for him holing out.'
Howell had Ogilvy on the ropes -- just about everyone has this week -- and could have ended the match with birdie putts of 12 feet on the last two holes. But he missed them both, and that was all Ogilvy needed to reach the semifinals in his debut at this tournament.
Goosen looked to be a lock for the semifinals with birdies on the first two holes, but that advantage ended quickly. Johnson birdied the next two holes to square the match, took the lead for good with a birdie on the par-5 11th and closed out the two-time U.S. Open champion on the 16th hole.
That assured an American in the 36-hole final for the eighth consecutive year.
As much satisfaction as Campbell took out of beating Woods, he felt equally miserable losing to Lehman.
The Texan had a 2-up lead at the turn until hitting some of his worst shots. Lehman had two putts to win the 10th, and then Campbell gave away the 11th -- a hook out-of-bounds, a topped 4-iron that squirted along the fairway and chunked chip that didn't reach the green.
Lehman twice hit into a hazard and halved the hole, but the Ryder Cup captain came through in the clutch.
With the match tied, Campbell holed a 30-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole and looked like a winner. Lehman then made his 20-footer, raising his right fist as it was a foot from dropping.
Campbell, though he played poorly, showed plenty of fight. With his tee shot behind a small pine and Lehman already 10 feet from the cup on No. 10, Campbell punched out and hit wedge to 2 feet for a halve. On the next hole, No. 15, Campbell's tee shot stopped 18 inches from the hazard, and he escaped with another halve.
But he found the bunker on the par-3 16th, while Lehman hit his shot 7 feet away. Campbell came out heavy and missed the putt, conceding Lehman his birdie and the match.
Lehman was thrilled to get to the semifinals, but that was it.
'They should send us both home,' he said.