Old-time Sarasotans know Page Halpin as Page Dunlap. To jolt your memory, this is the same Page Dunlap that was a standout junior golfer in Sarasota, went on to become an All-American at the University of Florida and played on the LPGA Tour for eight years.
Now married, a mother and homemaker, Page Halpin's No. 1 priority today is to celebrate Mother's Day with her family.
The celebration actually started Friday when the 45-year-old member of The Oaks Club completed a week-long victory lap in the Florida Women's State Golf Association Match Play Championship by beating 17-year-old Ginger Howard of Bradenton 3 and 2 in the final.
Halpin gave away almost 30 years, and Howard gave away her chances by not putting very well.
Halpin went 3-up after four holes, extended her to lead to four and was never threatened as Howard missed one short putt after another. The only birdie of the match cut Halpin's lead to three on the back nine of the Eagle Course at The Oaks.
"She had a bad putting day," said Halpin, "but she is going to be a good player."
The victory gave Halpin a trifecta in FWSGA amateur events. As a 16-year-old, she won the junior title, and then won the stroke play several years ago after regaining her amateur status.
Her older brother is Scott Dunlap, who gave Tiger Woods a run for his money in the 2000 PGA Championship and is now competing on the Nationwide Tour.
"He told me not to worry, that I am a grizzled veteran," laughed Page, who was the Match Play qualifying medalist on Monday with a 72. En route to her title, she won five matches, including a 19th hole win over Ginger's 15-year-old sister Robbi on Thursday.
The Howard sisters, originally from Philadelphia, train at IMG Academy in Bradenton. Ginger played on the U.S. Junior Ryder Cup team last year, and both plan to attempt to qualify for the U.S. Women's Open at The Oaks on May 16.
Earlier in the week, Tatiana Gammicchia, a University Park resident, staged the biggest upset of the Match Play Championship.
The Russian-born 22nd seed upended two-time FWSGA amateur champ Wendi Golden of Lakewood Ranch 2-up on Wednesday. Just last month, Golden won the City of Sarasota Women's Championship, beating Gammicchia by four strokes. Golden was seeded No. 6 this week.
The area was well-represented in the state event. Five of the quarterfinalists live in Sarasota or Manatee counties. Gennifer Mendez of North Port lost in the semifinals to Ginger Howard.