McCarron closed with an 8-under 64 a day after shooting a 61 at En-Joie to join Sutherland atop the leaderboard entering the final round in the PGA Tour Champions event.
''To go low like I did the last couple days, I've never played that kind of golf for two days,'' McCarron said. ''My hat's off to Kevin. He played such good golf and it just got to be match play. It was like we were back in high school playing against each other, it was so much fun.''
The 52-year-old McCarron matched Sutherland with a birdie on the par-4 16th, took the lead with a 12-footer on the par-3 17th and won with a 15-footer on the par-4 18th after driving well right and hitting an approach over trees. He finished at 20-under 196.
''To birdie that last hole from where I drove it, I drove it so bad, I think they're going to put a plaque out there,'' McCarron joked.
Sutherland birdied the 16th and 18th in a 65.
''I played really well this week, no complaints,'' Sutherland said. ''Scott played fantastic. It was a lot of fun. I've known Scott since junior golf, so it was a lot of fun.''
McCarron has three victories this year and five in the last two seasons on the PGA Tour Champions. The three-time PGA Tour winner won the Allianz Championship in February and the major Senior Players Championship in July.
Sutherland missed a chance for his first senior title - and another chance to top his old Sacramento rival. Sutherland's lone PGA Tour victory came in 2002 at La Costa in the Accenture Match Play Championship, when he beat McCarron 1 up in the 36-hole final.
''I know if I keep doing what I'm doing, eventually it will happen,'' said Sutherland, who shot a PGA Tour Champions-record 59 three years ago at En-Joie. ''But I did a lot of good things today and I can build on that.''
Sutherland holed out from the fairway for eagle on the par-4 ninth to tie McCarron for the lead, and pulled ahead with a birdie on the par-5 12th. McCarron tied it again with a birdie on the par-4 13th.
''I needed to birdie one more hole the last three and he got it done,'' Sutherland said. ''That's the difference, he birdied the last three and I birdied two of the last three.''
Charles Schwab Cup leader Bernhard Langer was 12 under after a 69. The 59-year-old Langer has a tour-high four victories, winning three of the five major championships.