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Masson struggles in Rd. 1 with ROY award looming

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NAPLES, Fla. – Caroline Masson was in tears after struggling in the first round of the CME Group Titleholders Thursday at Tiburon.

Playing with her fractured right thumb in a splint, Masson opened with a 5-over-par 77. There’s much at stake for the German this week. She leads a tight points race for the Rolex Rookie of the Year award going into the LPGA’s season finale.

“It’s not the same playing with this splint on,” Masson said through tears.

Masson leads the Rookie of the Year points list with 474. Moriya Jutanugarn is right behind her with 463 and Ayaki Uehara is third with 384. With 150 points up for grabs to the winner, all three have a chance to win the award. They were all paired together Thursday at Tiburon.

Uehara shot 69, Jutanugarn 70.

Masson’s 77 included a quadruple-bogey 8 on the 15th hole.

Masson broke her thumb playing table tennis a couple days before the Mizuno Classic in Japan two weeks ago.

“What’s hardest is knowing you can’t compete at your best with so much on the line,” Masson said.