Ryder Cup 2018: Analyzing Sunday's singles matches as U.S. tries to rally

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Jordan Spieth (Getty Images)

Europe extended its Ryder Cup lead Saturday in France, taking a 10-6 lead into Sunday’s singles matches.

Tommy Fleetwood and Francesco Molinari remained perfect (4-0) while beating Tiger Woods three times in the first four sessions. Those two will now be on their own, but Europe needs just 4 1/2 points to win the Cup.

Here are Sunday’s singles matches:

Rory McIlroy (2-2) vs. Justin Thomas (3-1) 

America’s best performer so far takes on McIlroy, who has not looked sharp despite being selected for all five sessions. Thomas, a rookie to this competition, has been a spark for the U.S. side. If he can win a point to kick things off Sunday, the Americans may have some dramatics left in them.

Prediction: Thomas 2 &1

Paul Casey (1-1) vs. Brooks Koepka (1-2) 

This would appear to be a mismatch in America’s favor, but don’t overlook Casey, who has played great in his two appearances. Both layers are great tee-to-green, so this one could come down to momentum and putting. Casey rejoined the European Tour to be a part of this team, so expect him to come out fighting.

Prediction: Casey 1-up

Justin Rose (2-1) vs. Webb Simpson (1-1) 

Two of the most controlled iron players in the game face off in what could be a pivotal match. Rose has played a lot of golf lately and has had a couple minor injuries. Simpson, highlighted by a win at the Players, has enjoyed his best all-around season on Tour. This one should be tight.

Prediction: Draw

Jon Rahm (0-2) vs. Tiger Woods (0-3)

Something’s got to give in this matchup. Rahm has shown flashes of form, while Woods has looked listless and uninterested. Rahm is a passionate player, so he could feed off the crowd if they’re willing to turn on a legend.

Prediction: Rahm 3 & 2

Tommy Fleetwood (4-0) vs. Tony Finau (1-1)

Fleetwood’s putter has stood out even more than his flowing locks this week, as he has teamed with Molinari to make a near-perfect duo. Finau has had his moments as well, but it’s hard to see Fleetwood losing with all the momentum on his side.

Prediction: Fleetwood 2 & 1

Ian Poulter (1-2) vs. Dustin Johnson (1-3)

Poulter brought his usual Ryder Cup magic Friday afternoon, but he really struggled Saturday, losing both his matches. Johnson, who has toyed with different putters and grips for a little over a month now, has looked lost on the greens. The U.S. needs this point.

Prediction: Poulter 1-up

Thorbjorn Olesen (0-1) vs. Jordan Spieth (3-1)

Olesen was sent out in the first session Friday and hasn’t played since. Spieth, after a down year on the PGA Tour, has looked dangerous this week. Spieth often gets paired with the guy considered America’s MVP of the week (Reed 2016, Thomas this season), but Spieth can prove his worth with a win here.

Prediction: Spieth 4 & 3

Sergio Garcia (2-1) vs. Rickie Fowler (1-2)

Another important match for the U.S. Since amateur golf, Fowler has been a formidable match-play threat, but his driving accuracy has hurt him this week. Garcia provided a spark Friday, earning his captain’s pick. This one could come down to putting.

Prediction: Garcia 2 & 1

Francesco Molinari (4-0) vs. Phil Mickelson (0-1)

Molinari has been a machine this week. Accurate with his irons and deadly with his putter, there has been no one better through two days. Mickelson looked poor in his one appearance, and he could get steamrolled here if he’s not careful.

Prediction: Molinari 3 & 2

Tyrrell Hatton (1-1) vs. Patrick Reed (0-2)

Two years ago, Reed was the face of the U.S. resurgence as the Americans hoisted the trophy at Hazeltine National. But he has been a ghost this time around, virtually cast aside by captain Jim Furyk. Hatton is a steady, gritty competitor who won’t go down easily.

Prediction: Reed 2 & 1

Henrik Stenson (2-0) vs. Bubba Watson (1-1)

Stenson has battled injury this year, while Watson is battling through illness right now. Both are wily veterans who know how to attack a golf course. Stenson has looked sharper this week, but Watson can always make birdies in bunches.

Prediction: Draw

Alex Noren (1-1) vs. Bryson DeChambeau (0-2)

Noren looked like a world beater in his opening session but stumbled Saturday afternoon. He has been one of the most prolific golfers in the world the past three years. DeChambeau had three wins on the PGA Tour this year, but he looked out of sorts in his two loses.

Prediction: Noren 3 & 2