Ryder Cup Capsules From Sunday’s Singles Matches
- Category: Inside Golf
- Published: 2018-10-01
By DOUG FERGUSON, Associated Press
SAINT-QUENTIN-EN-YVELINES, France — Capsules from Sunday’s single matches in the Ryder Cup at Le Golf National:
Justin Thomas, United States, def. Rory McIlroy, Europe, 1 up.
Thomas won without putting any red up on the board, leading only after the first hole and the 18th. Both missed chances inside 10 feet on nearly every hole on the back nine, and it looked to be a matter of who was going to give it away on the greens. McIlroy made a tough save behind the 17th to stay all square. Thomas smoked his drive down the 18th and only had to hit one more shot to win. McIlroy’s 3-wood plugged into the face of the bunker, it took two to get out, and the second attempt went in the water.
Brooks Koepka, United States, halved with Paul Casey, Europe
Koepka put red on the board with a 4-foot birdie putt on No. 5 and kept the lead until Casey birdied the ninth. This was a tight match, the only one in which neither side led by more than 1 hole. Koepka had a 1-up lead until Casey birdied the 17th to square the match. Casey had a chance to win until missing a 20-foot birdie chance on the final hole, and Koepka holed a 4-footer for par for the halve.
Webb Simpson, United States, def. Justin Rose, Europe, 3 and 2.
Simpson played well all week at Le Golf National, and he saved his best for singles. He went 2 up after three holes, gave away the fifth hole with a bogey, and then poured in with three straight birdies to take a 3-up lead to the back nine. Rose could do no better than pars until a 12-foot birdie on the 13th hole. Simpson won the 15th hole to go 3 up. Right when it looked as though Rose might make in interesting with a good birdie on the 16th, Simpson made birdie on top of him for the win.
Jon Rahm, Europe, def. Tiger Woods, United States, 2 and 1.
Rahm won the first hole with a birdie and never trailed, though this was more about Woods losing the match in the middle of the back nine. Rahm was 2 up when Woods won the par-5 ninth with an eagle, and Woods squared the match with a birdie on the 12th. At the time, the Americans were ahead in the first three matches, and Tony Finau had already closed out the match behind him. Woods bogeyed the 13th hole to fall 1 down, and then missed a 3-foot par putt on the par-5 14th to lose another hole. Rahm missed a short par on the 16th to lose the hole, only to hit a brilliant approach to 5 feet for a birdie he made to win.
Tony Finau, United States, def. Tommy Fleetwood, Europe, 6 and 4.
Fleetwood recovered from a rough start by winning two straight holes to square the match after four. He lost the next two holes with bogeys to fall 2 down, and then Finau ran off three straight birdies for a 5-up lead at the turn. They traded birdies, but this one was always in Finau’s hands. He closed out his first Ryder Cup appearance with a birdie on the 14th hole.
Ian Poulter, Europe, def. Dustin Johnson, United States, 2 up.
Poulter delivered again for Europe, improving his record to 5-0-1 in singles. This time, he had some help. Poulter was 1 up at the turn when Johnson won the 10th and 11th holes to go 1 up for the first time in the match. They halved the 12th with bogeys, and then Johnson came up short and into the water on the 13th to lose the hole and square the match. Poulter beat him with a birdie on the par-5 14th, and Johnson gave away the 15th to fall 2 down. He holed a twisting, 30-foot birdie putt on the 16th to make it 1 down, but with Poulter in to 10 feet on the last hole, Johnson missed a 25-foot birdie and conceded Poulter’s putt.
Thorbjorn Olesen, Europe, def. Jordan Spieth, United States, 5 and 4.
Jordan Spieth knew he had never won a singles match in the Ryder Cup or Presidents Cup, and he added to his record against a Ryder Cup rookie who had not played since Friday. Olesen never trailed, and Spieth made sure of it. The match was all square when Spieth made three straight bogeys to fall 3 down. Spieth didn’t make another birdie the rest of the way. The Dane stretched his lead to 5 up at the turn, and closed out Spieth with a birdie on the 14th.
Sergio Garcia, Europe, def. Rickie Fowler, United States, 2 and 1.
Garcia won the first hole with a birdie and led the rest of the way. The match was tight, however, and it was one that the Americans needed to flip. Fowler made bogey on the par-5 ninth to fall 2 down, and it took his birdie on the 13th to get back to within one hole. But he gave away the 14th with a bogey and then caught a break when he hit into the water off the tee at the 15th, only for Garcia to find the water with his second shot. Fowler won with a bogey to make it 1 down, and then he promptly put his tee shot in the water at the 16th to go dormie. It was at this point Europe clinched the Ryder Cup. They halved the 17th with pars for Garcia to win.
Francesco Molinari, Europe, def. Phil Mickelson, United States, 4 and 2.
Molinari was in control from the start, with one nervous moment. He conceded the ninth to take a 2-up lead to the back nine, and Mickelson cut into the deficit with a birdie on the par-3 11th. Mickelson lost the 12th with a bogey, and Molinari brought Europe closer to winning by going 3 up with a 6-foot birdie at the 14th. Mickelson was 3 down with 4 to play when missed a 15-foot birdie putt on the 15th to go dormie. Garcia was going dormie with Fowler at the same time. Either one of those matches gave Europe the 14½ points they needed. Molinari officially put the winning point on the board when Mickelson hit his tee shot into the water on the 16th, removed his cap and conceded the match.
Patrick Reed, United States, def. Tyrrell Hatton, Europe, 3 and 2.
This was one of only three matches in which Europe never led. They traded birdies to remain all square until Hatton bogeyed the seventh hole, and Reed began to pull away with birdies on the par-5 ninth and the par-3 11th. Reed closed him out with a birdie on the 16th to go 3-0 in Ryder Cup singles. It still wasn’t “Captain America” stuff and might not be again after this week.
Henrik Stenson, Europe, def. Bubba Watson, United States, 5 and 4.
With all the attention on Molinari, Stenson also had a perfect week. He played three matches, winning all of them. Watson didn’t put up much of a fight, mainly because the Swede didn’t give him much of a chance. Stenson won three straight holes on the front nine with birdies, and took a 4-up lead on the back nine with a birdie at the 11th hole and Watson’s bogey on the 12th. Stenson went dormie on the 13th hole when he was 5 up, and the match ended on the 14th when both made birdie. Watson is now 0-4 in Ryder Cup singles.
Alex Noren, Europe, def. Bryson DeChambeau, United States, 1 up.
DeChambeau was trying to avoid joining Mickelson and Woods as the only Americans who failed to earn a point this week. He almost got it done in a tough match. Both made two birdies on different holes on the front nine to keep the match square. Both followed with pars and a birdie on the 13th. Noren went ahead for the first time with an eagle on the 14th hole, and DeChambeau scrambled for bogey to halve the 16th after hitting in the water. This was the last match on the course that counted only toward the final margin. DeChambeau hit his approach to 2 feet for a conceded birdie on the 18th and what looked to be a halve. But Noren holed a 40-foot birdie putt for the win.