The five-time tournament champion shot a 5-under 66 on Thursday for a share of the first-round lead in the Verizon Heritage with Justin Leonard and Lucas Glover.
The 44-year-old Love has struggled to bounce back from tearing ligaments in his left ankle last September. On Thursday, he shot his best round since August and gave him confidence things might keep improving at one of his favorite locales.
Its getting close, Love said.
There have been many oddities for Love the past few months. He failed to qualify for the Masters, missing his first major championship since the 1990 U.S. Open.
That was weird, Love said.
He spent the week with family, hunting turkeys and only sparingly tuned in to Masters coverage to follow his buddy Fred Couples and Brandt Snedeker, who spend time in Loves residence of Sea Island.
Love also worked to tune up his game to compete at a place where no ones won as much as he has.
You keep sticking the tokens in the machine, eventually youll get it right, Love said.
Not that itll be easy.
Leonard, the 2002 Harbour Town winner, is coming off a top-20 finish at the Masters. Glover had his best finish of the year in his last event, a tie for 14th at the Shell Houston Open.
A large group a stroke behind the leaders included two-time Heritage winner Stewart Cink and Camilo Villegas. Jim Furyk, ranked No. 9 in the world, was another shot back at 68.
Snedeker was also in the mix after a 70. He tied for third at the Masters with Cink but probably gained as much attention for allowing the emotions and tears to flow when his chance at a green jacket fell apart last Sunday.
Ernie Els figured as a strong favorite here given his status (worlds third-ranked player) and Harbour Town history (seven top-10 finishes in nine starts). However, the Big Easy faltered with a 1-over 72 in a round that included only one birdie.