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Golf: Faldo to crush; gentle Ben.

IT'S not often these days that Nick Faldo is asked to carry Sports Betting's millions, but Hills have set it up for us in the USPGA Championship, which starts today.

They make Faldo only 1.2-2.0 shots' favourite over Ben Crenshaw in the 18-hole spread match-ups and this has to be bought.

Faldo may be bad, but Crenshaw, a shadow of the player who won two US Masters, is far worse. Crenshaw, in current form, cannot possibly make the cut on a course as tight as Sahalee; that is not yet the case with Faldo even though this is the last-chance saloon for the former world No 1.

Though the results have been bad, the actual shot-making is still A1 and we can expect to see Faldo peppering the flag (then missing the putts!) while Crenshaw is thrashing around in the jungle or some of the 59 traps.

Joe Durant, winner of the Western Open, can teach Dane Thomas Bjorn a thing or two about straight driving.

Bjorn has been less than impressive recently, while Durant, a Nike Tour player last year, sticks out as probably the most improved golfer on the US Tour. He's ninth on the driving stats, 21st in Greens In Regulation, and 24th all round - just the sort to play well in what is likely to prove a searching examination.

IG make this one 0.4 your choice. Expect Durant to win by at least two.

Hills are exceptionally generous with David Duval v Justin Leonard - that is, if you're a Duval buyer. The margin is only 0-0.8 in Duval's favour with them but as much as 0.0-1.6 with City.

The latter quote looks far nearer the mark as Leonard has missed his last two cuts (after taking 82 on the third round at Birkdale), while Duval, a dual winner this year, continues to look a majors man with sparkling finishing of 2nd in the Masters, 7th US Open and 11th in our Open. Buy him at 0.8.

It's hard to see why Sporting make Dan Forsman a slight favourite over star rookie Steve Flesch, who is high up the driving stats and rarely has a bad week. Veteran Forsman is unlikely to make the cut and should be sold at zero.

Vijay Singh can easily give the 0.8 start with Hills against poor Stuart Appleby, the Australian whose wife was killed in a tragedy at London's Waterloo Sation last month. This is brave Appleby's first start since.

nHEARTS are rated 0.8-1.1 favourites over Estonian league leaders Lantana by Sporting for their Cup Winners' Cup first-leg qualifier in Tallinn tonight. The total goals quote is 2.4-2.7.
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Copyright 1998 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Sports
Author:Chapman, Jeremy
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Aug 13, 1998
Previous Article:USPGA: Punters swerve European trio.
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