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Ryder Cup 2018 singles: Thomas Bjorn backs Rory McIlroy to get Team Europe off to a flyer ahead of Sunday showdown
The Northern Irishman lost his foursomes game with Ian Poulter on Saturday
Europe captain Thomas Bjorn backed Rory McIlroy to get his side’s bid for Ryder Cup glory off to a flying start in the final day’s singles at Le Golf National.
The home side take a 10-6 lead into Sunday’s 12 matches and need to claim four and a half points to regain the trophy in Paris.
McIlroy will face Justin Thomas in the opening match; Thomas and Jordan Spieth having beaten McIlroy and Ian Poulter 4&3 in the Saturday foursomes.
“There’s a lot of reasons to send Rory out first,” Bjorn said. “He’s a fantastic player. He likes to play fast. He doesn’t like to be held up. He likes responsibility.
“He feels like he’s in a place where he can go into that position and get the best out of himself. I have a lot of belief in him, and I trust him as a player, but also trust him very much as a person.
“So it’s a great place for him to be with responsibility.”
Draw and tee-off times for the singles session of the 42nd Ryder Cup
- 11:05: Rory McIlroy v Justin Thomas
- 11:17: Paul Casey v Brooks Koepka
- 11:29: Justin Rose v Webb Simpson
- 11:41: Jon Rahm v Tiger Woods
- 11:53: Tommy Fleetwood v Tony Finau
- 12:05: Ian Poulter v Dustin Johnson
- 12:17: Thorbjorn Olesen v Jordan Spieth
- 12:29: Sergio Garcia v Rickie Fowler
- 12:41: Francesco Molinari v Phil Mickelson
- 12:53: Tyrrell Hatton v Patrick Reed
- 13:05: Henrik Stenson v Bubba Watson
- 13:17: Alex Noren v Bryson DeChambeau
(Europe names first, all times BST)
Tommy Fleetwood and Francesco Molinari, who can become the first European players to compile a perfect 5-0 record in the Ryder Cup, will take on Tony Finau and Phil Mickelson in matches five and nine respectively.
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“I went with this set-up because of personalities and the way I see them,” Bjorn added. “And I went with this group of guys in this order because I think it covers all the way through the order.
“That American line-up was always going to be extremely strong and it doesn’t matter; we need to win our points tomorrow. They can come from any match.”