FORT WAYNE – Scott McCarron has been out to prove that he's still got game.
He did that Thursday at Sycamore Hills Golf Club by matching the course record with an 8-under 64 and taking the lead after the first round of the Hotel Fitness Championship.
"It's been a long time since I've played some good golf. But at least I still know how to. I haven't forgotten that part," said McCarron, 48, who has won three times and earned more than $12 million on tour.
"When I'm playing bad, I can never imagine playing good. And when I'm playing good, I can never imagine playing bad. This is an amazing game."
The tournament runs through Sunday and has a $1 million purse with $180,000 going to the winner. It is the first of four legs in the Web.com Tour's new finals, which features players from the PGA Tour and its minor-league circuit and will determine 25 PGA Tour cards for next season.
McCarron is in the tournament through a medical exemption because he had thumb surgery last year.
His round was the best at Sycamore Hills since Robby Shelton shot a 64 in the 2012 Junior PGA Championship, though the Jack Nicklaus-designed course is playing more difficult for this tournament.
Bud Cauley, Jason Gore, Troy Matteson and Scott Harrington are one stroke off the lead at the par-72, 7,275-yard course.
But they lacked a bit of the excitement McCarron brought to the course.
It started with a bogey on his first hole, the par-4 10th, and then he holed out for birdies from bunkers on Nos. 11 and 18, with an eagle wedged between on the par-5 15th.
"My caddie looked at me (on the 12th tee) and said, 'Well, this is exciting.' And it's only the third hole," McCarron said. "It hasn't even gotten exciting yet."
McCarron saved his best for last when he birdied the par-4 9th hole to take the lead.
"I hit drive off the tee and that hole narrows up a little bit for me there. I caught a good lie in the middle of the bunker," McCarron said. "I was 141 (yards) to the pin. I was just trying to hit pitching wedge somewhere down to the right. I pulled it a little bit and got a little extra distance, got up on the shelf and made that little putt from 12 feet."
McCarron played eight events this year on the PGA Tour and two on the Web.com Tour, struggling to find his groove after surgery last October. He came back in January, which he believes was too soon.
"All of us play too long with injuries and then we come back to early," said McCarron, who has also had two elbow surgeries.
"The start of this year, coming back after thumb surgery, I played poorly and had a tough time letting shots go because I was waiting for the pain to happen.
"The last couple months, the thumb has felt good and I haven't had pain and I've been able to turn on it and let it go."
McCarron said he thinks the course record will fall this week.
"I'm sure someone will shoot lower than (64) this week," McCarron said.