Great Britain and Ireland vs. Europe: Ryder Cup Hero Francesco Molinari Is Key

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Great Britain and Ireland vs. Europe: Ryder Cup Hero Francesco Molinari Is Key
Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

As the Seve Trophy heads into its fourth and final day of action, Continental Europe's hopes of winning their first title in 13 years appear to be dwindling.

Stuart Franklin/Getty Images
Sam Torrance: Seve Trophy mastermind?

Having seen their 8-6 lead leveled to 9-9 on Day 3, momentum is with Sam Torrance's Great Britain and Ireland team.

This leaves Day 4 wide open, with a straight shoot out of ten singles matches to not only decide the day but the whole tournament.

The last round of the 2013 Seve Trophy is likely to resemble the golfing equivalent of a Poker style battle of wits and nerves and the balance tipping exchanges of boxers trading blow after blow.

Even if a couple of early games should go one team's way, there will be plenty of chances to turn it around.

Though Europe may have been beaten back from the brink of building a dominant lead to take into Day 4, the continental team still have an ace in their hole: Italy's Francesco Molinari.

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It was Molinari who faced down Tiger Woods on the final day of the 2012 Ryder Cup, which a united Europe side won. The Italian was able to halve their match, the final singles clash of the day, to ensure that his team won the cup outright, 14½ points to 13½.

His duel with Great Britain and Ireland's Simon Khan is scheduled as the last singles match of this year's Seve Trophy. Molinari may be required to secure another historic win as the last man standing for his team.

This year's tournament has been criticised for its lack of quality players, with stars such as Rory McIlroy and Luke Donald deciding not to take part as potential match winners for Torrance's team.

Yet there's still likely to be a grand finale on Day 4, with Molinari the ideal man for the occasion.

Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

His opponent, Simon Khan, did not play on Day 3, and it may be that Great Britian and Ireland are trying to rest up their own potentially decisive player.

While Molinari qualified for selection in Jose Maria Olazabal's team through his high placement in the world rankings, Khan made himself available for his own team through his performance in the Race To Dubai series.

Whether spectators see an inherent, relevant advantage either way between these rankings and performances in a tour format competition likely depends more on subjective reasoning than fact.

In terms of both golfers' form over the past three days, Khan is in front, having halved a Fourballs game with Molinari and his partners on Thursday and winning another Fourballs game on Friday.

His opponent for the final day was instead beaten in his own respective Fourballs clash on Friday and tasted defeat again in his Foursome game on Saturday. By selecting Molinari as his choice for Continental Europe's tenth, final and potentially deciding game on Day 4, Olazabal will be placing his trust in the Italian replicating his heroics against Woods.

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Against Khan, Europe's Italian Ryder Cup hero can become their Seve Trophy winner, a title that the continent's teams have been unable to secure since winning in 2000, its inaugural year.

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