DENHAM SPRINGS- Barriers are meant to be broken, and teen golfer Sophia Macias is doing just that.
The 16-year-old junior at Episcopal High captured the overall club championship at Greystone Golf and Country Club on Sept. 10.
No other women participated in the event, but the fearless teen accepted the challenge and emerged victorious. Accepting the challenge meant playing from the tips or back tees, the maximum playable length on the course.
“She called me after the round was over and told me that she shot a 70,” Sophia’s dad, James Macias, recalled.” I thought she was joking, and she was like, ‘No, Dad, I’m serious I did.’ She sent me a picture with the scorecard, and we said, ‘Woah, you can really do this. This can really happen’.”
“She went out there and handled her challenge, which is great because it sheds light on her,” he continued. “She’s going through a college recruiting process. It’s been fun to watch her get the victory. We are very proud of her even taking up the challenge, much less winning.”
Sophia shot a 74 on Day 2, capturing the championship by four strokes. Her 70 on Day 1 was a club record. No one had gone under par in the tournament before.
“It started off as an idea like, ‘Hey, wouldn’t it be fun if we all played with the tips’,” Sophia said. “Last year, I got to play in the club championship. It’s around 4,800 yards. I played from 7,100 yards. I spent a lot of time working out, getting stronger, working on speed, and training my body to match my game.”
“I’ve worked on the mental side of things,” she added. “My mental game has been a struggle, and that’s a big thing with all golfers. It’s learning how to be okay with bad shots. They happen. Moving on and growing from them. I wasn’t hitting it perfectly (at the club championship), but I was learning how to recover and move on from bad shots.”
Sophia has played golf since she was seven and joined Greystone’s Country Club six years ago. Her father credits the club for helping elevate her game to another level.
Success on the course is familiar to her. Sophia has been the Baton Rouge High School Women’s Golf Metro Champion and Player of the Year for three years straight. She is also the reigning four-time Brec Women’s Baton Rouge amateur champion.
On top of that, she qualified for NBA superstar Stephen Curry’s junior golf tour.
She said one big difference between men and women in her sport is the distances each play.
“Last year, playing in the women’s division was easier, and it could have been better competition,” she said. “It was at a point where I was staying the same and wasn’t getting better. I also go to my coach (Blaine Patin), who has been amazing. He’s helped grow the essential parts of my game and not just the basics.”
The fall is a busy time for Sophia, with a tournament scheduled nearly every week. As a high school junior, she’s also going through the recruitment process.
James said watching his daughter break barriers puts things in a different perspective.
“You go through life being a male and don’t realize until you have a daughter and watch the struggles they have to overcome,” he said. “The, ‘she’s a little girl. She doesn’t need to play in men’s events.’ It’s not until you see your daughter break down those doors and open a trail for anybody else to come behind her.”