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Golf

The singles showdowns that will decide the Ryder Cup

The singles showdowns that will decide the Ryder Cup

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We take a look at the 12 singles matches that will decide the Ryder Cup, with Europe strong favourites to prevail at Le Golf National on Sunday.

The 42nd Ryder Cup will be decided at Le Golf National on Sunday, with Europe requiring four and a half points to retain the trophy.

Ahead of the final day of action, Omnisport assesses the 12 head-to-head singles battles that will take place.

Rory McIlroy (Won 2, Lost 2, Halved 0) v Justin Thomas (Won 3, Lost 1, Halved 0)

Thomas and Jordan Spieth have been the United States' standout pairing, contributing half of the team's points so far and looking particularly impressive on Saturday. McIlroy, by contrast, has only shown his best form in patches and will surely need to raise his game to give Europe a winning start.

Paul Casey (1-1-0) v Brooks Koepka (1-2-0)

Do not be surprised if Casey takes this one. The Englishman performed superbly in each of his fourball matches, despite losing the first to Thomas and Spieth. Koepka was an impressive winner with Tony Finau on the opening morning, but then suffered two narrow defeats on Saturday. He never lacks confidence, but Casey will also have plenty of belief.

Justin Rose (2-1-0) v Webb Simpson (1-1-0)

FedEx Cup champion Rose will be a strong favourite to improve his fine Ryder Cup record with a third win in a row, but Simpson putted beautifully on Saturday afternoon. If the American can get his putter firing again on Sunday, Rose will require his very best form.

Jon Rahm (0-2-0) v Tiger Woods (0-3-0)

Surely at least one of these men has to fire on Sunday? Rahm and Woods have been among the competition's biggest disappointments, the enthusiastic European rookie struggling in each of his matches and Woods losing three out of three. Tiger's Ryder Cup record is now a dismal 13-20-3, but he is a different animal in the singles (4-1-2). A Sunday showdown will hopefully bring the best out of him and Rahm.

Tommy Fleetwood (4-0-0) v Tony Finau (1-1-0)

No European rookie has ever enjoyed a better debut than Fleetwood, who now faces the challenge of winning without close friend Francesco Molinari by his side. Finau made plenty of birdies in his two fourball outings, but also plenty of errors. He will need to be much more consistent to have any chance on Sunday.

Ian Poulter (1-2-0) v Dustin Johnson (1-3-0)

A really tough match to call. 'The Postman' has not delivered his usual haul of points for Europe, but Poulter was certainly an inspirational figure on Friday afternoon and played well on Saturday morning only to be hampered by Rahm's struggles. Johnson's record this week is a grim one, yet he has won all of his previous singles matches at Ryder Cups. Poulter has four wins from five, so something has to give.

Thorbjorn Olesen (0-1-0) v Jordan Spieth (3-1-0)

No doubting the favourite in this clash. Spieth has been the USA's best player and will expect to take care of Olesen, a rookie kept on the sidelines since Friday morning. However, European captain Thomas Bjorn has backed his fellow Dane to make a point in more ways than one in the singles.

Sergio Garcia (2-1-0) v Rickie Fowler (1-2-0)

Chants of 'Ser-gioooo' have rung around Le Golf National for the past 48 hours, the Spaniard having justified his wildcard selection with two impressive wins. Garcia lost his form on Saturday afternoon alongside Alex Noren, but looks a good bet to beat Fowler, whose Ryder Cup record is poor, and become the record points scorer in the competition's history. A half-point would pull Garcia level with Nick Faldo (25).

Francesco Molinari (4-0-0) v Phil Mickelson (0-1-0)

One half of Europe's unstoppable pairing takes on a player who was seven down after nine holes in his only outing this week. The result looks a formality, but so did Mickelson's singles match with Phillip Price at The Belfry in 2002 and 'Lefty' will remember what happened then.

Tyrrell Hatton (1-1-0) v Patrick Reed (0-2-0)

The principal hero of Hazeltine, Reed was utterly abject on Saturday morning as he and Tiger Woods slumped to a second straight defeat. The USA need the old 'Captain America' to reappear against rookie Hatton, who impressed with Casey in two fourball appearances.

Henrik Stenson (2-0-0) v Bubba Watson (1-1-0)

Bubba got things going with Simpson in the second foursomes session, recording a first point in the format at the fourth attempt. He must now try to accomplish the same feat in the singles. Stenson has a 100 per cent record at Le Golf National following two wins with Rose and held his nerve superbly to convert two clutch putts at the end of the second victory. 'The Iceman' is surely the favourite here.

Alex Noren (1-1-0) v Bryson DeChambeau (0-2-0)

The 2018 Open de France champion at this venue, Noren has been hit and miss so far, shining on Friday and proving wildly erratic on Saturday. DeChambeau is another US wildcard who has flattered to deceive and this is another match-up Europe has reason to feel confident of winning.

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