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Olafson wins 1st ever Pine to Palm Mid-Am title

Jay Olafson was Pine to Palm's first-ever Mid-Am champion in 2009.

The Pine to Palm Golf Tournament is full of tradition through its 77 years of existence and it looks like it's adding to that trend.

The Mid-Am Division made its Pine to Palm debut last year and for all things considered -- it will be a mainstay for the future.

Although the division had only 22 golfers register for qualifying, the competitive play from the 40-55 year old golfers was an attraction throughout the week at the Detroit Country Club.

For Jay Olafson, it was extra special after he topped Kent Fronk 3 and 2 for the first Mid-Am championship.

Olafson now has earned the right to have his named sketched as the first-ever Pine to Palm Mid-Am champion.

"That will be cool and great," Olafson said of seeing his name as the first Mid-Am champion. "To see my name somewhere up there will be huge. The Mid-Am was lots of fun this week and I think it will only be bigger next year with some bigger names."

Olafson needed some deficit-busting golf after he fell down one hole to Fronk after hole 11, where he hit two trees and ended up picking his ball up after six strokes.

But the bad hole didn't frustrate Olafson, instead it motivated him into winning the next three with a pair of birdies and a par to take a 2-up advantage after 14.

It was the perfect answer to a hiccup of a hole after 11.

After taking the 2-up edge, Olafson put the pressure on Fronk to play catch up.

"I played a little more conservative after going 2-up," Olafson said. "I wasn't trying to pin seek, instead I just didn't want to get into any trouble after that."

The match ended on 16, as Olafson wrote Pine to Palm history.

The Mid-Am champion said the Pine to Palm committee was dead-on by installing the new division.

"It's a nice thing to have at our age," Olafson said. "You get to play guys your own age, who don't get the opportunity to play golf every single day like some of the young guys in Championship.

"It is still competitive, but it's not cut-throat competitive. There was some close matches and I see the quality getting better."

Winning medalist honors was Otis Hesteness, who works on the DCC grounds crew.

Hesteness shot a two-round score of 72-73 for a three-over par 145 to capture medalist laurels.

He played to the semifinals in the field of 16, before losing to Olafson 2-up.

Fronk beat Thomas Solien 2 and 1 to advance to the finals, as well.

Brian Wierima
Detroit Lakes Newspapers Sports Editor for the last 15 years. St. Cloud State University graduate, who hails from Deer Creek, MN.