2018 Ryder Cup: Sunday singles, match-by-match recaps

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2018 Ryder Cup: Sunday singles, match-by-match recaps

2018 Ryder Cup

2018 Ryder Cup: Sunday singles, match-by-match recaps

Here are the match-by-match recaps for the 2018 Ryder Cup singles session Sunday at Le Golf National near Paris:

Match 1: Justin Thomas (U.S.) def. Rory McIlroy (Europe), 1 up

Thomas called this one a “pillow fight” as neither had their bets stuff. Still, it was compelling as Thomas sunk a long birdie on the first hole before McIlroy won the next three holes to take a 2-up lead. Thomas birdies om Nos. 8, 10 and 14 helped him square the match, which went to the par-4 18th all square. However, McIlroy plugged his tee ball in a bunker and then found the water two shots later to hand Thomas the win.

Match 2: Brooks Koepka (U.S.) halved Paul Casey (Europe)

Koepka said he “ran into a buzzsaw” in Casey, who made five birdies to earn the halve, the first of this Ryder Cup. Casey wasn’t totally sharp, though, finding the water with his bunker shot at the opening hole. But he battled back, and his birdies on Nos. 9 and 10 gave him a 1-up lead. Koepka sank crucial birdie putts at Nos. 12 and 13 to retake the lead until Casey’s birdie at the difficult par-4 17th square the match back up for the final time. “Probably deserved to finish in a halve,” Koepka said of the match.

Match 3: Webb Simpson (U.S.) def. Justin Rose (Europe), 3 and 2

Simpson’s putter came to play Sunday in Paris. He sank several long putts en route to beating Rose, a European stalwart, 3 and 2. Simpson made four birdie putts on the front nine to jump out to a 3-up lead. While Rose hung in there by seemingly making par save after par save, a water ball with his approach at the par-4 16th cost him. Simpson closed out the match on the par-3 16th with birdie.

Match 4: Jon Rahm (Europe) def. Tiger Woods (U.S.), 2 and 1

Woods had never played a Ryder Cup in which he failed to earn a point. He played three times in group play this week and lost all three matches. He then failed to do much against the Spanish rookie, Rahm, who birdie the opening hole and never trailed after that. Woods did eagle the par-5 ninth from 15 feet and squared the match with birdie at the par-4 12th, but Rahm on Nos. 13 and 14 with pars. Rahm lipped out a par save to lose the par-3 16th, but was able to wedge close and birdie the par-4 17th from 6 feet to clinch the point, the first of Rahm’s Ryder Cup career. “The incredible pride I feel, to play the way I did, to beat Tiger Woods … it’s a lot of emotions,” Rahm said. We likely won’t see Woods again until his head-to-head match against Phil Mickelson this Thanksgiving weekend in Las Vegas.

Match 5: Tony Finau (U.S.) def. Tommy Fleetwood (Europe), 6 and 4

Fleetwood entered this match 4-0 and appeared the heavy favorite. But Finau, who played just two four-ball sessions, came out hot. He earned the first hole with birdie after Fleetwood hit his greenside-bunker shot into the water. After Fleetwood birdied Nos. 3 and 4 to square the match, Finau rattled off five straight wins, including Nos. 7-9 with birdies. Fleetwood could muster just one birdie on the back nine as Finau closed the Englishman out on the par-5 14th with, you guessed it, birdie. Finau’s win move the U.S. to within a point as the Americans grabbed 3.5 points in the first four matches to finish.

Match 6: Ian Poulter (Europe) def. Dustin Johnson (U.S.), 2 up

Johnson made things interesting against Europe’s Mr. Ryder Cup, back in this event for the first time since 2014. He drained long bombs for birdie at Nos. 5, 11 and 16, but in the end it was Poulter, who went 2 up through four holes and then won Nos. 13-15 after going 1 down after 11. Poulter had a 5-footer for birdie to win the match at the 17th, but he lipped it out. But he responded on the finisher, out-driving Johnson and then sticking his approach to 8 feet. After Johnson missed his birdie roll, he conceded Poulter the hole and the match. That moved Europe to one point away from winning back the Cup.

Match 7: Thorbjorn Olesen (Europe) def. Jordan Spieth (U.S.), 5 and 4

This one was never really close. Olesen, who sat out the final three group sessions, made five birdies to easily handle Spieth, who made just one birdie. Olesen built a big lead by making birdie putts on the par-3 second and par-4 fourth. Spieth bogeyed Nos. 5 and 6 to give Olesen a 3-up lead. The Dane then drained a big birdie putt from 10 feet at the par-3 eighth and added another from 20 feet at the par-5 ninth. He closed out the struggling Texan by making an 18-footer for birdie at the par-5 14th. Europe needed three wins following this point from Olesen to win back the Cup.

Match 8: Sergio Garcia (Europe) def. Rickie Fowler (U.S.), 2 and 1

Fowler struggled with his ballstriking for much of the day, and it cost him down the stretch. He had battled back from 2 down through two holes and through 11 holes, winning the 13th with birdie to sit at just 1 down with five to play. But he bogeyed the par-5 14th and then rinsed tee shots at Nos. 15 and 16. Garcia, who made just two birdies on the day, bailed Fowler out at the par-4 15th, making double after hitting his approach in the water, but was able to make par at the par-3 16th and the close out the match with par at the 17th. Garcia, 3-1 this week, is now the all-time leader in Ryder Cup points won with 25.5 points, passing Nick Faldo. “I love everything about (the Ryder Cup),” Garcia said.

Match 9: Francesco Molinari (Europe) def. Phil Mickelson (U.S.), 4 and 2

Fitting that the first European – and just the fourth player ever – to go 5-0 in the Ryder Cup earns the clinching point. Molinari won three of the first five holes as Mickelson bogeyed three times during that span. The veteran lefty did battle back to 1 down through 11 holes, but Molinari got it back to 3 up after a birdie at the par-5 14th and two holes later was conceded a birdie on the tee after Mickelson yanked his tee shot into the water at the par-3 16th. Class move by Mickelson, who went 0-2 in arguably his worst Cup performance ever, as Molinari, the Champion Golfer of the Year, is mobbed by his teammates. Europe wins. “I can’t describe it. I couldn’t even dream of a summer like this,” Molinari said.

Match 10: Patrick Reed (U.S.) def. Tyrrell Hatton (Europe), 3 and 2

Even after the Ryder Cup was already clinched by Europe, Reed birdies the 16th for a 3-and-2 win and then shushes the crowd. Odd, but Reed did make five birdies and no bogeys to earn his first point of the week. He played just three sessions and might have lost his Captain America title to Justin Thomas. Reed surely will be the subject of criticism, but the will be other questions raised to Jim Fuyrk on why Reed never paired with Spieth. And then there’s the Twitter controversy involving his wife, Justine. Not a good week for Team Reed.

Match 11: Henrik Stenson (Europe) def. Bubba Watson (U.S.), 6 and 4

Watson still hasn’t won a Ryder Cup singles match as he made just one actual birdie and won just one hole against Stenson, who won Nos. 3-5 – all with birdies – to take a commanding lead. He closed out Watson on the par-5 14th after pitching close with his third shot and getting the concession. Stenson made six birdies and no bogeys, and he also finished the week 3-0.

Match 12: Alex Noren (Europe) def. Bryson DeChambeau (U.S.), 1 up

The final match is the last to finish, as well. DeChambeau made birdie putts at Nos. 3 and 5 to take an early 2-up lead, but Noren wins Nos. 7 and 9 with birdies to square the match and then eagles the par-5 14th to take the lead. With the Cup already clinched by Europe, DeChambeau makes Noren putt a 2-footer to halve the par-4 15th. Right before that, the U.S. rookie is jokingly conducting the European chants, so there is no ill will toward the move. On the next hole, the par-3 16th, someone took away the tee markers, so DeChambeau puts some marshal signs down the ground. The two have a laugh about it. DeChambeau then finds the water off the tee, but sinks a 15-footer for bogey to halve the hole. Two holes later, DeChambeau sticks his approach to 2 feet but Noren drains a birdie bomb to put an exclamation point on a 17.5-10.5 European victory.

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