Adam Scott says his best opening round in six months on the PGA Tour has him feeling confident about keeping pace with the leaders at the BMW Championship.
Scott shot up the leaderboard at Chicago's famed Medinah Country Club with a five-under-par 67 to sit just two shots off the pace.
Scott's playing partner Justin Thomas and big-hitting Jason Kokrak equalled the course record with 65s to top the leaderboard at seven under.
Veteran Jim Furyk (66) headlines five players sharing third at six under.
Thursday's 67 was Scott's best opening round in an individual stroke-play event on the US Tour since the Los Angeles Open in February.
The former World No.1 has had a solid season with two runner-up results among seven top 10s, but says sloppy starts have left him with too much work to do.
"After today, I don't feel like I'm way behind on the first round like I have been most of the year," Scott said.
Scott rebounded back to form after a missed cut at The Open in July with solo fifth at last week's Northern Trust event in New Jersey.
"I feel like my game is in a good spot and I'm going to try and get the most out of it this week," he said.
Scott's hot result last week, the opening event of the FedExCup Playoffs, booked him a spot at the Tour Championship finale next week.
RIGHT: Thomas and Kokrak equalled the course record with opening 65s. PHOTO: Andrew Redington/Getty Images.
At 14th on the standings, Scott is assured of remaining inside the top 30 who advance to the Playoffs finale.
"I'm looking forward to the next three days, and I kind of have a free shot," he said.
"I like where my short game is at, too. That's been very reliable this year.
"Now I'm hitting it a bit better, so I can go a little tighter at the flags and lean on the short game if I need to."
Scott's countryman Jason Day made a creditable start with new caddie David Lutterus on the bag.
Day hit just six of 14 fairways but salvaged a 70 to sit two under.
"I felt a lot better with my putter today; if I can just tighten up the driver I can get myself up this leaderboard," Day said.
A shot further behind Day was 15-time major winner Tiger Woods, who negotiated a stiff back to post a 71.
"I didn't feel any tightness at all, so that was a positive, and I just need to clean up my rounds and get going," said Woods, who won the 1999 and 2006 US PGA Championships at Medinah.
Marc Leishman (72) rounded out the Australian contingent and he sits at even par.
- Evin Priest, Australian Associated Press