If you're headed down the interstate and happen to hear AC/DC or Tom Petty coming from a nearby vehicle, don't be alarmed. It's just Sophia Macias getting into her competitive zone.
"I like to rock out before every match," the 9-year-old golfer from Denham Springs said. "It gets me pumped."
It's been a whirlwind couple of years for Macias, who placed second in the Drive, Chip and Putt local qualifier at The Island in Plaquemine on Tuesday.
Macias advanced to sub-regional round last year and will do so again this year, competing at TPC Louisiana in Avondale on July 26. The third round will be held in Texas. The third-round winner will advance to Augusta, Ga., to compete in the national tournament.
"I told them just completely soak it in," Sophia's father, James Macias, said. "Take it all in. Because this is stuff we that we would dream to have when we were kids around here."
And it's just part of what has been a busy summer for the Macias family, which includes James' wife Laura and son Trace.
Sophia qualified for the U.S. Kids Golf world championship which will be played in Pinehurst, N.C., from Aug. 3-5 and has already qualified for all regional tournaments for next season with a low score of 37 at Millbrook Country Club in Picayne, Miss., in June.
She also won the 9-11-year-old girls title at the Governors Games at LeTriomphe in Broussard, which required a bit of an adjustment for Sophia Macias.
The U.S. Kids Golf events she regularly competes in are one-day events with nine holes and yardages are adjusted for each age division.
"Their furthest par 5 is probably like 280 yards, almost 300 yards on a par 5, and it's able to build confidence in their games, and it's done wonders," James Macias said. "When we go to these bigger tournaments for the USSSA division, she's playing from the full-on ladies tees, where you have a par 5 of 490 yards. She struggled a little bit, but she found her game and it played a little long, but she knows what she has to do when she gets out there, and she won it. She won the Governors Games out there in Broussard."
James and Sophia also won the Father-Son-Daughter tournament at BREC's City Park, in which Sophia made an eagle to help the team win by two strokes. The duo also won the fourth flight of LSU Father-Son-Daughter tournament on Father's Day.
All of those accomplishments aren't too shabby considering Sophia Macias has only been playing golf for about two years and competitively for one.
Sophia played softball, soccer and participated in dance, but her focus shifted to golf after James bought Trace a driver when he was 3 years old.
"One day Sophia came out there and grabbed one of my clubs and started hitting the ball," James said. "I'm watching her, and I just noticed the swing.
"She couldn't hit the ball 10 feet, but she loved the game. She loved the chance to hit a ball and get it in the hole. She just has this competition bug in her that she doesn't like to lose, but she's a gracious loser when she does lose and she's a gracious winner, but she loves to win."
James bought Sophia a $10 iron from Academy and her grandmother bought her a summer golf camp pass to Greystone. Sophia then got signed up with swing coach Ryan McGwyer at GolfTech, and James said that's helped his daughter's game blossom.
"He put her through the ringer for the first year, and then we stepped into the competitive circuit, and that's when it all took off," James said of McGwyer.
James said his children, both of whom have run in the Crescent City Classic, have also benefited from playing in in the Kelly Gibson Foundation Summer League in New Orleans on Thursdays during the summer.
"These girls are shooting almost par, sometimes under par," James said.
"She's a star around here because there's nobody around here, but when she goes out to these bigger tournaments in New Orleans and outside the state, she gets brought back to Earth really, really fast," James said. "And she learns from it. She learns from her mistakes, and I think that's what's gotten her to where she's at now."
Where Sophia is now is preparing for the world championships, which she learned about while watching the movie 'The Short Game' with her family.
"She watched that movie, and from that day on, that's when it really got serious," James said. "She said, 'That's where I want to be. I want to go there. I want to play in that tournament.' Here we are two years later, and she's playing in that tournament in August."
"They were playing at Pinehurst and there were a whole bunch of kids my age," said Sophia, who will a 5th grader at Live Oak Middle School this school year.
If the movie wasn't enough to get Sophia motivated, a little advice from former Denham Springs High and LSU basketball standout Tasmin Mitchell helped, too.
"He told her in March, he said there's always somebody out there working harder than you to take your spot," James said. "And I think that has stuck with her and has pushed her."
Sophia has taken Mitchell's advice to heart.
"We go to practice almost every day," she said. "We usually do different things like with the exercises. We do do yoga a lot though. It strengthens your core and helps you calm down and you're more flexible."
Sophia will also compete in the U.S. World Championship team event in a scramble two days before the individual tournament, which will be played on the Whispering Pines Course, Pinehurst No. 7.
While she's never played the course, she has watched the classic battle between the late Payne Stewart and Phil Mickelson at Pinehurst in the 1999 U.S. Open.
"She's finally grasping the concept as it gets closer to us leaving that she is going to be playing there -- not that exact course or that exact green -- but we'll be able to go and see the statue and all the history that's there," James said.
Sophia, who will also play in the in USSSA National Championship at TPC Louisiana July 28-30 before leaving for Pinehurst, said her goal in North Carolina is not complicated.
"Not to get last place," she said.
Even if she does, she's come a long way in a short time in her young golf career.
"What I tell her is even if you do finish last, you still have a world ranking of 100, so I mean, that's not too shabby as a 9-year-old," James said.