Golf: Sally says it's the right Coll

SALLY WATSON, the Edinburgh golfer now starring at the same American college where Tiger Woods went before becoming the world No.1, is in no hurry to join her Curtis Cup team-mate Carly Booth in the professional ranks.

While 17-year-old Booth has become the youngest player to qualify for the Ladies' European Tour, Watson is aiming to see out her full term at Stanford University in California before deciding where her future lies.

"It's definitely my plan to stay for the four years," said the 18-year-old freshman.

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Watson, who won three out of five matches for Great Britain & Ireland at the 2008 Curtis Cup at St Andrews, was ranked among the top 30 women players on the US college circuit at the start of the season and has been showing why.

In her debut with the 'Cardinal', she finished around the middle of the field in a rain-shortened, two-round event. Then, in the second of three autumn tournaments, she was in contention to win before eventually finishing fifth. At the Stanford Intercollegiate in mid-October, she tied for 51st in a field of 81.

"She's going to lead by example," said Caroline O'Connor, the Stanford women's head coach. "She's going to speak her mind and push others to work harder."

Watson, who made the cut in the 2007 Ricoh Women's British Open at St Andrews when she was just 16, headed to Stanford, where Scottish professional Mhairi McKay attended at the same time as Woods, after going to high school in Florida, where she was coached at the David Leadbetter Golf Academy.

"She's a true student of the game, and she works at it like the best players in the country do," added O'Connor.

"She manages stress on the golf course very well. When her back is against the wall, she's the one who wants to step up and perform."

As Booth prepares to start her new career, Watson insists she is happy for now to be concentrating on her studies and improving her game on the highly-competitive college circuit in the States.

"It's just a huge step," she said of turning professional. "College is the last stage in your life where you don't necessarily have any worries.

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"You still want to get As, but you also have some freedom to be a little kid."

According to Watson, who is likely to be a key figure for Great Britain & Ireland when this season's Curtis Cup clash comes around at Essex Country Club in Massachusetts in the middle of June, the one area of her game in need of improvement is putting.

"I think I can hole putts when I need to," she said. "It's the putting I'm doing in between that needs improvement, if that makes sense. I need to hole them more frequently."