Duval is tied with Japan's Hidemichi Tanaka, who birdied five of his final eight holes.
Five players are tied at 5-under, including last week's Texas Open winner Loren Roberts, Ryder Cupper Scott Hoch, who won this event in 1996, Corey Pavin, who hasnt won anywhere since 96, Jose Coceres and Bart Bryant.
Kind of a carryover from last week at England where I was really fired up about being there and playing, Duval said. I kind of had the same feeling as I got in here yesterday.
Duval skipped the Wednesday Pro-Am, instead opting to go home after the Ryder Cup to Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.
He said he wanted to give myself that extra day of rest and really try to put on a good show for the last year here.
This is the 36th and final edition of this event, held at the Kingsmill Golf Club in Kingsmill, Va. Like other tournaments, this one has fallen victim to a lack of a sponsor for next season.
Duval, for one, hates to see the tournament come to an end. Following seven career runner-up finishes, he won his first PGA Tour event here in 1997. It was the first of three wins in a row to cap the season, and the first of 11 wins in 34-tournament stretch that vaulted him to No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking.
He also successfully defended his title in 1998.
The 30-year-old hasnt won since his 2001 British Open triumph, and has only one top-10 finish this year. Thursday, however, he recorded an eagle, seven birdies and two bogeys for his lowest round in the 2002 campaign.
His eagle came at the par-5 15th, where he hit a 6-iron from 190 yards to 20 feet and converted the putt.
Duval has shown flashes of his old self in recent events. He shot 65 in the final round of the World Golf Championships-NEC Championship, and then did the same in round two of the American Express Championship. Last week, he went 1-1-1 in his three matches played.
Really, in the last 10, 12 rounds its been the exception when I havent played well, he noted.
Duval has suffered through a lot this year. Hes missed seven cuts ' more than hes missed in the previous three years combined ' including at the Masters and the U.S. Open. He was also forced to withdraw from the Nissan Open after a bout of food poisoning.
On top of his professional woes, he ended an eight-year relationship with his fiance in late January, and suffered an injured shoulder in a snowboarding accident.
My head has been in different places this year unfortunately, simply because Ive had other things going on that Ive had to focus on and pay attention to, he said.
But, for now, Duval said hes body and mind are right, and hes focused on golf.
I have three rounds left this week, and the way Im kind of thinking right now is Ive got a good chance to being in the Tour Championship come next Sunday, and Im way outside it right now (currently 93rd on the money list), but thats how I feel, Duval said.
The thinking I have is I can clean up this year with three wins pretty easy, that I can turn whats been a bad golf year into another multiple-win season. Thats how I feel about my golf right now.
Two-time defending champion David Toms, who was the leading American points earner a week ago, opened in 1-under 70. Local favorite and U.S. Ryder Cup captain Curtis Strange shot 3-over 74.
Full-field scores from the Michelob Championship