USA threatening to pull off great comeback as Thomas beats McIlroy

Justin Thomas beat Rory McIlroy in the opening singles match of the Ryder Cup as the United States threatened to pull off a stunning win.

Justin Thomas celebrates   -  Getty Images

A United States charge was well under way at Le Golf National as Justin Thomas edged out Rory McIlroy in a thrilling singles battle to help raise hopes of a stunning comeback victory.

The USA began the final-day singles trailing 10-6, but knowing that same deficit had been successfully overcome in this event in 1999 and 2012.

For a long time on Sunday, Europe looked to have little to worry about as it opened up leads in several matches.

READ: No fast start for US, but Ryder Cup remains tough to call

Yet by the time, Thomas beat McIlroy on the 18th, having been two down after seven and only ahead on a previous hole, there was plenty more red on the scoreboard.

Tony Finau was five up on Tommy Fleetwood and seemingly assured of victory, while Brooks Koepka, Webb Simpson and Dustin Johnson also held leads in the top half of the draw and Tiger Woods was only one down to Jon Rahm.

Europe was therefore hoping the likes of Thorbjorn Olesen, four up on Jordan Spieth through 10, Sergio Garcia, Francesco Molinari and Henrik Stenson could hold on to their leads.

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McIlroy's battle with Thomas was a thriller, but the Northern Irishman cracked on the final hole after following missed chances on 15 and 16 with a superb up-and-down to halve the 17th.

Thomas split the 18th fairway before McIlroy's tee shot ended up plugged in a bunker. He failed to escape at the first attempt and found water with his next shot.

No European has ever claimed five points from as many matches in a Ryder Cup, but Molinari was on course to do just that, the Italian two up on Phil Mickelson through nine.