Love, 47, who will captain the U.S. Ryder Cup team this year, recorded the last of his 20 tour victories four years ago. He equaled the course record at the PGA National layout Thursday and had a two-shot lead over eight players, including Rory McIlroy.
McIlroy, who with a win this week would jump past Lee Westwood into the No. 1 spot in the world rankings, was joined in a second place tie by Justin Rose, Ryan Palmer, Dicky Pride, Martin Flores, Kevin Stadler, Seung-Yul Noh and Harris English.
Tiger Woods shot a 1-over 71 and was tied for 68th. Woods is seeking his first tour victory since 2009.
Love was even par through four holes when he faced the daunting tee shot over water at the par-3 217-yard fifth. He knocked that shot in the hole with a 5-iron and finished his round by hitting his third shot 75 feet from a greenside bunker to within 12 inches for an easy birdie.
The only longer hole-in-one this year has been a 229-yard shot holed by Sam Saunders during the Humana Challenge on a course designed by his grandfather -- Arnold Palmer.
Defending PGA champion Keegan Bradley was among those at 67 and Charl Schwartzel, who next month will defend his Masters crown, had a 71.
Former U.S. Amateur champion Hank Kuehne, once looked upon as a likely star in the sport, played his first competitive round in five years after suffering painful back issues that led him to Europe seeking treatment. Kuehne, playing on a medical exemption granted by the tour, made six birdies and shot an even-par 70.
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