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Ryder Cup Match Previews: Sunday Singles Signal Dramatic Finale Ahead at Marco Simone

Europe leads 10.5-5.5 entering Sunday’s 12 Singles matches at Marco Simone Golf & Country Club just outside the historic city of Rome, Italy. It would take a historic comeback for the United States to ruin the home team’s week.

Read below for the lineup for Sunday’s Singles session and previews of the matches.

Match 1, 5:35 a.m.: Scottie Scheffler (U.S.) vs. Jon Rahm (Europe)

Sunday Singles start off with a heavyweight battle between the last two Masters champions, currently holding down world rankings of Nos. 1 (Scheffler) and 3 (Rahm), respectively. Rahm has been a pillar for Europe in Rome, going 2-0-1 so far this week. He has some unfinished business after Scheffler took him down in Singles at Whistling Straits two years ago when Rahm was No. 1 in the world. As a rookie, Rahm beat Tiger Woods in Singles in Paris.

Scheffler has endured a tough week outside Rome, going winless in three matches (one was a tie) and getting stomped on (with Brooks Koepka) in Foursomes by Viktor Hovland and Ludvig Åberg early on Saturday. He has had a historic year with his ball-striking but needs the putter to cooperate to take down Rahm, who is in better form.

Player records: Scheffler (2-2-2 overall, 1-0-0 Singles); Rahm (6-3-2 overall, 1-1-0 Singles)

Match 2, 5:47 a.m.: Collin Morikawa (U.S.) vs. Viktor Hovland (Europe)

Morikawa was able to gain some confidence after he and Sam Burns finally put some red on the board early and defeated Hovland and rookie Åberg on Saturday afternoon.

After going 0-3-2 as a rookie in 2021 at Whistling Straits, Hovland has become a force for Luke Donald’s side in Rome. He led Åberg around in three sessions of team play, with the two rolling to a 9-and-7 Foursomes triumph over world No. 1 Scottie Scheffler and five-time major winner Brooks Koepka early on Saturday. This marks a rematch from two years ago when the two then-rookies tied at Whistling Straits.

Player records: Morikawa (4-2-1 overall, 0-0-1 Singles); Hovland (2-4-3 overall, 0-0-1 Singles)

Match 3, 5:59 a.m.: Patrick Cantlay (U.S.) vs. Justin Rose (Europe)

We remember Rose as the young 17-year-old finishing a surprising fourth at The Open Championship in 1998, and now he’s the wily 43-year-old veteran of this European team. The former U.S. Open champion from England has ably chaperoned rookie Robert MacIntyre for a pair of Four-ball matches, winning a key point late Saturday. His Ryder Cup Singles record includes a pivotal 1-up triumph over Phil Mickelson in 2012, as Europe fought back from a 10-6 deficit for a stirring victory at Medinah.

Cantlay has yet to have his moment in a major, but he has been steady (and clutch) at Marco Simone, where on Saturday he poured in three huge closing putts to turn a 1-up deficit into victory in the day’s final match. The result pulled the U.S. to within five points, and at least gave the visitors a glimmer of hope headed to Sunday.

Player records: Cantlay (4-2-1 overall, 1-0-0 Singles); Rose (14-8-3 overall, 2-2-1 Singles)

Match 4, 6:11 a.m.: Sam Burns (U.S.) vs. Rory McIlroy (Europe)

Another early blockbuster, with the American rookie taking on the highest-ranked player (world No. 2) in what promises to be a fiery encounter. McIlroy is in a much better place with his game and with his confidence than he was two years ago in Wisconsin. He played all four team sessions, so the danger with him is that he is gassed, but the home crowds should pull him through. Unbeaten in his first three Ryder Cup singles matches, McIlroy has lost two of his last three.

After a tough opening-session loss in Foursomes, Burns picked up some momentum with his first Ryder Cup point on Saturday afternoon alongside Collin Morikawa. Playing his own ball, he got off to a fast start before Morikawa heated up. One of the reasons Burns was a captain’s pick for Zach Johnson was the match-play event he won earlier this year in Austin, Texas – the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play.

Player records: Burns (1-1-0 overall, 0-0-0 Singles); McIlroy (15-13-4 overall, 3-2-1 Singles)

Match 5, 6:23 a.m.: Max Homa (U.S.) vs. Matt Fitzpatrick (Europe)

Homa has gone from a struggling PGA TOUR player trying to keep a card to one of its most consistent contenders, and he quickly has taken to a leadership role in U.S. Team rooms. He and Harman were two of the stars of Saturday as the U.S. tried to keep itself in the matches. The rookies went out in two games and returned two points.

England’s Fitzpatrick finally got a shot in a Four-ball session on Friday, which was a first, and responded nicely, which should help fuel him with confidence after a weak start (0-5-0) in two previous Ryder Cups. He was a birdie machine playing alongside Rory McIlroy on Friday, playing the opening six holes of the session in 6 under. That result will make a different player on Sunday. Fitzpatrick has lost in Ryder Cup singles to Dustin Johnson (Hazeltine) and Daniel Berger (Whistling Straits).

Player records: Homa (2-1-1 overall, 0-0-0 Singles); Fitzpatrick (1-4-0 overall, 0-2-0 Singles)

Match 6, 6:35 a.m.: Brian Harman (U.S.) vs. Tyrrell Hatton (Europe)

This is one of the day’s more fascinating matches, as both competitors are very good putters and can be absolute pests, especially in match play. Harman is a 36-year-old rookie who has proven to be a scrappy opponent at Marco Simone. He and Homa teamed up for a pair of victories on Saturday to provide the visitors with one of the few bright spots of the week.

Hatton put his feet up Saturday afternoon after going 2-0-1 to help stake Europe to a comfortable lead heading into the Singles session at Marco Simone. Hatton has yet to win in Ryder Cup Singles; he lost to Patrick Reed in Paris and lost to Justin Thomas two years ago in Wisconsin. Hatton made two big birdies at 14 and 16 alongside Viktor Hovland in Friday Four-ball to help pull out a win for Europe.

Player records: Harman (2-1-0 overall, 0-0-0 Singles); Hatton (4-4-2 overall, 0-2 Singles)

Match 7, 6:47 a.m.: Brooks Koepka (U.S.) vs. Ludvig Åberg (Europe)

Another great matchup that puts Europe’s Ryder Cup future (Åberg) against one of Team USA’s most confident and tested performers. Åberg, who won’t graduate from Texas Tech until December, is playing in the Ryder Cup before he competes in his first major.

Koepka, in the meantime, has won five majors, more than any other competitor at Marco Simone. He looks to bounce back on Sunday after a tough loss (9 and 7) on Day 2. Koepka enters Singles having not lost (2-0-1) in three matches.

Player records: Koepka (6-6-2 overall, 2-0-1 Singles); Åberg (2-1-0 overall, 0-0-0 Singles)

Match 8, 6:59 a.m.: Justin Thomas (U.S.) vs. Sepp Straka (Europe)

This is an all-SEC matchup pitting Alabama (Thomas) against Georgia (Straka). Straka is a Ryder Cup rookie but is an excellent ball-striker who has not appeared out of place on the big stage that is the Ryder Cup.

Thomas is coming off a terrible season by his standards, but his play has picked up of late even though he and partner Spieth have little to show for their three sessions together (one tie). Thomas has been the steadier of the two and has a chance on Sunday to validate Johnson’s decision to use a captain’s pick to add him to the team. He is 2-0-0 in Singles, including a road victory over McIlroy in Paris.

Player records: Thomas (6-4-2 overall, 2-0-0 Singles); Straka (1-1-0, 0-0-0 Singles)

Match 9, 7:11 a.m.: Xander Schauffele (U.S.) vs. Nicolai Højgaard (Europe)

Schauffele holds a mighty edge of experience over Højgaard and should play impassioned given his struggles this week. Højgaard’s Ryder Cup debut has been mixed. He made seven birdies in his Friday Four-ball match to earn a half-point with Rahm. Yet he made just two during Saturday’s Four-ball session in a 2-and-1 loss to Homa and Harman.

Player records: Schauffele (3-4-0 overall, 0-1-0 Singles); Højgaard (0-1-1 overall, 0-0-0 Singles)

Match 10, 7:23 a.m.: Jordan Spieth (U.S.) vs. Shane Lowry (Europe)

Spieth could turn around what has been his worst Ryder Cup to date with his first career Singles win. He is still searching for his first point this week and was particularly wayward on Saturday.

This will be a crucial point in the day if the U.S. Team’s chances are still alive. The Americans will need vintage Spieth to show up. Meanwhile, expect Lowry to ride the passion and support of the European fans. He’s been among the most animated this week.

Player records: Spieth (8-9-4 overall, 0-3-1 Singles); Lowry (2-3-0 overall, 0-1-0 Singles)

Match 11, 7:35 a.m.: Rickie Fowler (U.S.) vs. Tommy Fleetwood (Europe)

Zach Johnson called it a “captain’s decision” to hold Fowler out for both sessions on Saturday. Fowler hasn’t played since Friday morning when he and Morikawa lost 2 and 1 to Lowry and Straka. Fleetwood should provide nice insurance for Europe if the U.S. mounts a charge. He has been particularly good on home soil, though he has yet to win a singles match.

Player records: Fowler (3-8-5 overall, 1-2-1 Singles); Fleetwood (6-3-2 overall, 0-1-1 Singles)

Match 12, 7:47 a.m.: Wyndham Clark (U.S.) vs. Robert MacIntyre (Europe)

It’s often a long shot that the final match has any stake at all. With a large European lead, that could very well be the case again. But if a U.S. comeback is in the works, this matchup should provide plenty of theater. Both players have earned 1.5 points thus far, though MacIntyre struggled for large stretches of both matches he played. He came alive Saturday afternoon, helping Rose put away Thomas and Spieth in Four-ball. That’s the form he will need to see. Clark, meanwhile, has been vocal about relishing the big moments. He could find himself in the biggest moment of his career if his teammates take care of business ahead of him.

Player records: Clark (1-0-1 overall, 0-0-0 Singles); MacIntyre (1-0-1 overall, 0-0-0 Singles)

Source : PGA Tour