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Five key holes at the Ryder Cup

The spectacular Albatros course at Le Golf National will host the 42nd Ryder Cup
The spectacular Albatros course at Le Golf National will host the 42nd Ryder Cup AFP/File

Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines (France) (AFP)

The 42nd Ryder Cup gets under way on Friday, with the Europeans hoping to make the most of home advantage on the tricky Albatros course in France against the United States.

Here, AFP Sport takes a look at five holes which could prove key in the matches this week:

No 3 - par five (558 yards)

-- The first par five on the par-71 layout comes early in the round, but does feature a dangerous tee shot for the players, especially if they take a driver hoping to reach the green in two.

If the water hazard down the right-hand side is avoided and the fairway found, though, all the players will be capable of setting up an eagle chance with an approach shot towards a green guarded by bunkers both at the front and over the back. Pars are unlikely to be enough to win this hole.

No 6 - par four (380 yards)

-- While far from the most visually stunning of the holes at Le Golf National, the sixth will provide plenty of birdies and drama if the tees are moved forward, making it reachable for most top players.

Phil Mickelson found the putting surface with his tee shot in Tuesday practice, but a miss to the right is not an option, with out of bounds lurking.

No 11 - par three (178 yards)

-- A magnificent par three, the 11th is a treacherous hole with the green perched on top of a hill above a lake.

When the grass on the bank is cut fine, plenty of balls will come up just short of the green and roll back into the water. Certain pin positions will be accessible, but a strong tee shot to the heart of the green would definitely pile the pressure on an opponent.

No 16 - par three (177 yards)

-- The 16th will see the end of many matches, and not just because of its position near the end of the course. The hole is a definite birdie chance for the Ryder Cup stars, most of whom will be taking not much more than a nine-iron, but has water waiting on the right.

A large bunker to the left could also prove tricky, but this may be the place to really put the squeeze on your rival with a tee shot inside 10 feet at the climax of a match.

No 18 - par four (471 yards)

-- Perhaps the hardest hole is saved until last, with a daunting tee shot. Anything left will find water, but a bail-out to the right isn't an option as thick rough will only leave the players with a lay-up towards the lake which bends in front of the green.

Europe's Spanish pair Sergio Garcia and Jon Rahm both reached the 18th in July's French Open needing birdies to force a playoff, only to find water to end their chances.

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