Stacey Rodger is determined to show there is more than one sporting star in the family.

Cousin Simon, a former Kings Manor (Shoreham) pupil, is a professional footballer pushing for a place in the Premiership with Crystal Place.

But 13-year-old Stacey from Portslade hopes to make it to the top in golf and Simon has given his young relative some advice.

The West Hove club member said: "He has told me to keep working as hard as I can and maybe my golf dreams can come true, but to make sure I always enjoy it."

The Portslade Community College pupil has taken the county girls' scene by storm this year after only gaining her handicap in April and has been named as the Sussex Golf Union's most improved girl golfer of 2001.

Stacey has also attracted the attention of the English Ladies Golf Union who have picked her out as an international junior of the future, laying on coaching lessons with professional Tim Packham at West Sussex Club near Pulborough.

She said: "Like my cousin, I used to play football. But I stopped because, I think, we had enough girls at school to play and took up golf.

"My mum (Ann) and I were used to following my dad (Stuart) and brother (Carl) around West Hove and I thought I'd give it a try.

"So I borrowed my dad's driver and went to the driving range and found I liked it.

"I've gone from 45 to 20. I think I have surprised quite a few people. I've found I can play quite well and I'm very pleased."

She has already represented the county under-18s in a South East tournament in Kent and helped the South defeat the East, West and North in a Sussex Inter Area Championship.

The Brighton junior title came her way at Hassocks and she claimed the Ham Manor Under-18s Championship. She also won her club junior title.

Stacey is a gymnast, netballer and hockey player but golf is No.1.

"I like other sport and football. I've seen Simon play a few times and Lance Cronin, who is a goalkeeper with Crystal Palace is at my school, but golf is my main sport."

She is certainly ambitious. "I'd love to play for Sussex again and go further. There is an England girls team and I'd like to progress to that.

"I'd also love to become a professional, eventually."

Simon offers encouragement. He said: "She has always been good at sport and from what I've been told, she's a great little player. She's picked it up straight away and she's got a golfing rivalry with her brother which will help spur her on.

"If she wants to do well she's got to keep practising."

In the meantime, Stacey has made a New Year's wish. She said: "I want to to achieve my first hole-in-one."