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Pine to Palm: Mid-Am to crown first champ

Jay Olafson eyes his tee shot to the par three third hole during Saturday's Mid-Am match against Otis Hesteness. (Brian Basham/DL Newspapers)1 / 2
Kent Fronk watches his second shot to the par five first hole during his Mid-Am match against Thomas Solien Saturday. (Brian Basham/DL Newspapers)2 / 2

The Pine to Palm Mid-Am experiment can be deemed a success and the two benefactors who will put the exclamation points on the inaugural year will be Fargo's Jay Olafson and Jamestown's Kent Fronk.

The Mid-Am duo played their way to the first championship in the division after playing through a wet and soggy semifinal round Saturday.

For Olafson -- who beat medalist Otis Hesteness 2-up --  the rain was actually a blessing, as he took a 3-up lead in the torrential downpour by the turn.

"I was just playing straight ahead when it was down pouring," Olafson said. "The greens were putting fair, but neither one of us really had any big mistakes.

"I was hitting my greens in regulation, I just couldn't make my putts."

Fronk and Tom Solien were neck-and-neck all the way through the round up to hole 17.

There wasn't a larger lead than 1-up for neither golfer, but on hole 16, Solien gave Fronk a birdie putt after he hit behind a tree and was shooting for bogey.

On 17, Fronk clamped down and took advantage of a nice drive and approach to make birdie to win the hole and match 2-up.

"It was close all the way through and we were even for the most part of the round," Fronk said. "It does feel good to be in the finals, because it's tough against all the good competition which has played in it all week."

The Mid-Am championship match between Olafson and Fronk will start at 1 p.m.