'Not being [qualified for] the Tour Championship right now is a good motivator, and not winning in three years is a great motivator,' said Love, who shot a 4-under 68 on Saturday to tie Chris Couch for the lead after three rounds of the Chrysler Classic.
Couch, meanwhile, surrendered a late lead when he made bogey at the 17th hole, but joined Love by saving par from 6 feet at the 18th. He is looking for his second win of the season after breaking through for his first title at the Zurich Classic in April.
The duo is knotted at 10-under-par 206 for a one-shot lead over three players.
Temperatures hovered in the low 50s Saturday and players endured steady rain.
Couch did almost everything right in adverse conditions, keeping the ball in play by hitting every fairway on the way to his 69.
'I've been driving the ball really well,' he said, 'so hopefully the same thing will happen tomorrow.'
Couch took a one-shot lead with a birdie at the 13th, which put him at 11 under, and was two ahead after making par at the 14th. But he made a mess of the par-3 17th, knocking his tee shot into a greenside bunker and then missing a 15-foot par attempt.
It was the first bogey in 42 holes for Couch, but after saving par at the 18th to remain tied with Love, he refused to lament the late mistake.
'It didn't really bother me that much, because I just set a record for myself,' said Couch, who ranks dead last in scrambling on the PGA TOUR but is tied for second this week in the stat.
Love, the 1992 champion, is one of four players who share the course record at Forest Oaks. But this week is the first time he has made the cut there since his design team rebuilt the host course in 2002-03.
His round Saturday included seven birdies and three bogeys. He played the back nine at 3 under par.
'I was a little disappointed the last few years here, so it's nice to be on the good side of things,' said Love, who is back after five weeks off.
John Senden was tied for the lead with Love and Couch before stumbling to a bogey at the 17th hole, where he nearly chipped in after a bad tee shot put him in the rough.
Senden shares third place with Chris Smith (69) and Steve Flesch (69) at 9- under 207.
Lucas Glover and Daniel Chopra both shot 6-under 66 and share sixth place with Brett Quigley (68), Joe Durant (70), Jason Bohn (70), Ryan Moore (71) and Eric Axley (71) at 208.
Third-round leader Nick Watney had a 2-over 74 and tumbled into a tie for 13th place at 7 under.