A midseason break is paying off for Jim Furyk at the PGA Championship.

The 44-year-old Furyk carved out a monthlong sabbatical after his 12th-place tie in the U.S. Open. Second last year in the PGA, he shot a 5-under 66 on Thursday in the opening round at Valhalla Golf Club to put him a stroke out of the lead.

After his break, Furyk's solid run began last month with a fourth-place finish in the British Open. He blew the final-round lead a week later in the Canadian Open and settled for second at Royal Montreal, then tied for 15th last week at Firestone in the World Golf Championship event.