Making just his fourth start in three months due to a bulging disc, Love shot a 5-under 67 to take the lead into the weekend in the Advil Western Open.
Love stands at 11-under-par 133, three shots clear of Brandel Chamblee, who shot an early 67 on Friday.
Scott Hoch is in third place at 7-under following a round of 68.
Love started his day with a bogey at the 1st, but birdied the 2nd and eagled the par-5 5th. Leading the event at 8-under, Love birdied the par-4 8th and holed his bunker shot at the par-4 13th for another red number.
This years Pebble Beach champion closed his round by birdieing the par-4 18th, which has ranked as the hardest hole of the tournament, thus far.
Tiger Woods jumped from the cutline into contention by shooting a 4-under 68.
Woods, who opened in 73, carded five birdies and one bogey on Cog Hills Dubsdread Course to finish 36 holes at 3-under-par 141.
Im trying to get back in the tournament, at least give myself a chance going into the weekend, Woods said.
I played terrible yesterday, but today I hit the ball pretty good. If I can just get a few more putts to fall and get some positive momentum going, I might have a good weekend.
Overnight leader Mark Wiebe followed a Thursday 65 with a day-two 74. A bogey-free first round turned into a birdie-free second round. He now stands six off the lead at 5-under-par 139.
Phil Mickelson, who was one off the 18-hole lead, saw a lackluster second round end in disaster. Even par for the day, the lefty hit his second shot into the water left of the green at the par-4 18th. He carded a double-bogey 6 for a 74. Last weeks winner is 4-under-par heading into the weekend in Lemont, Ill.
Today just wasnt a good day for me, Mickelson said. I just couldnt seem to get the ball in the hole. Ill see if I can come back tomorrow with a low round.
Woods fell victim to the home hole Thursday, as he, too, made double.
Friday, Tiger successfully navigated the 18th to the tune of par. The two-time Western champion birdied two of his first three holes and made the turn in 3-under.
Woods dropped a shot at the par-4 4th, his 13th hole of the day, but rebounded with a pair of birdies on the par-5 5th and par-5 9th holes.
Chamblee took advantage of the par-5s in round two, as well. He birdied three of the four long holes. Overall, he recorded seven birdies and two bogeys.
The winner of the 1998 Greater Vancouver Open, Chamblee missed his first four cuts in 2001 before losing in a six-way playoff at the Nissan Open.
Aside from seeking his first victory in three years, the 39-year-old is also trying to qualify for the British Open in two weeks.
The top eight finishers at the Western who arent already exempt for the Open Championship will earn a trip to Royal Lytham.
I spent a summer in Europe in 1982/1983 and I played Royal Lytham and I love it, Chamblee said. Id love to be there. Im not in the British Open at this point, but certainly I would relish the chance to play there.
Full-field scores from the Advil Western Open