After dominating the Saturday morning fourballs session at Le Golf National, it looked Europe was on their way to a victory lap in Sunday singles. But the U.S. team, led by Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth, was able to salvage an afternoon split to stay within striking distance. Being down 10-6 is nothing new for either team in the Ryder Cup, as they’ve each mounted a memorable charge in the past, Europe in 2012 at Medinah and the United States in 1999 at Brookline. Will Le Golf National be the latest site of a historic Ryder Cup comeback?
For the U.S. to make it happen, it’s essential to put up as many red flags on the board early, something captain Jim Furyk had in mind when sending out the red-hot Thomas, Brooks Koepka, Webb Simpson and Tiger Woods in the first four matches. This is the group tasked with grabbing the early momentum, but even if they can, European captain Thomas Bjorn has his big guns waiting in the middle of the pack. Tommy Fleetwood and Francesco Molinari, who went 4-0 as a team, will go off in the fifth and ninth matches respectively, with Fleetwood taking on Tony Finau and Molinari taking on Phil Mickelson. If “Moliwood” can pick up two points on their own, Europe will only need three points from the other 10 guys to win the cup.
It seems to be a tall task, especially for an American team that’s looked lifeless and just plain bad at times, but crazier things have happened in Sunday singles. The U.S. needs eight points to retain the cup, while Europe needs only 4.5 to win it. We’ll have you covered right here with all the important updates.
All times are ET:
7:49 a.m.: Every time a European player looks like he may give a hole away, they somehow halve it, like Rahm just did to Tiger at the fifth hole, rolling in a testy par putt to keep a 1 up lead.
7:40 a.m.: Huge birdie at the par-3 eighth from Justin Thomas, who lets out a loud “COME ON!!” as it drops. He now trails McIlroy just 1 down as they head to the ninth hole.
Behind JT, Koepka and Simpson each lead their matches 1 up, and Tiger had a chance to square his match with Rahm but badly missed a short par putt to stay 1 down.
After going 2 down to Tony Finau, Tommy Fleetwood answers right back with two wins of his own and squares the match. Ian Poulter, Thorbjorn Olesen and Sergio Garcia lead the next three matches on the course 1 up. It’s getting early late for the U.S. team.
7:32 a.m.: Dustin Johnson vs. Ian Poulter is a match captain Jim Furyk had to feel good about, but the world No. 1 is down early after putting one in the drink at the par-3 second. Very early, but this is one the U.S. will need.
7:17 a.m.: The once unstoppable Tommy Fleetwood is suddenly human, as he drops the opening to holes to go 2 down to Tony Finau, who owns a much more modest record of 1-1 as a Ryder Cup rookie. Seven matches are on the course, with three red flags on the board, two European and two matches all square.
7:09 a.m.: Another win for Webb at the third, giving him a 2 up lead on Rose. Maybe this guy should have played all four previous sessions?
In the first match off, JT made par and looked like he was going to cut into McIlroy’s two up lead, but the Northern Irishman holed a hard left-to-right breaking putt to halve the hole. All of a sudden, he can putt.
7:04 a.m.: If you’re just tuning in, or if you’ve been watching, it’s an all-too-familiar scene in France, with more blue flags on the board than red. The good news for the U.S. is that it’s just two blue flags out of the first five matches, with Rory McIlroy 2 up on Justin Thomas through four and Jon Rahm 1 up on Tiger Woods through two. Paul Casey and Brooks Koepka are all square through four, and Webb Simpson leads Justin Rose 1 up through two.