CHARLEVOIX -- Lee Houtteman wasn't about to let history repeat itself.
Houtteman, a teaching professional at the Grand Traverse Resort, finished tied for second in last year's Michigan Senior PGA Championship.
He wasn't happy with how he finished either.
This time around, Houtteman started fast and held on down the stretch to close with a 3-under 69 on Tuesday to win the 2012 Senior PGA at Charlevoix Country Club.
Houtteman, 51, finished at 6-under 138 for a three-shot win over defending champion Randy Erskine of Great Oaks Country Club in Rochester and Bob Makoski of Fox Hills Learning Center in Plymouth.
Houtteman earned a $2,000 check for his win, and he qualifies for the National Senior PGA Professional Championship, which is scheduled for Oct. 11-14 in Virginia.
Erskine and Makoski both closed with even par 72s.
"I hit it pretty good today," Houtteman said. "It was almost reverse from last year. Last year I was leading this tournament with a (first-round) 68, but played real careful (in the second round) and didn't make enough swings. Then I went to the Tournament of Champions and was aggressive, I made some good swings and ended up winning it."
After finishing tied for second behind Erskine in last year's Senior PGA, Houttemen went to Boyne Mountain a week later and claimed his first Tournament of Champions title. This year, the Tournament of Champions was staged one week before the Senior PGA, and Houtteman faded down the stretch and finished tied for 16th, 10 shots behind winner JR Roth.
"I got to 3-under in the last round at the Tournament of Champions last week and was two shots off the lead," Houtteman said. "I was going good and then it got crazy with how I starting playing too aggressive. I was going at pins and made a double (bogey) and three-putted four times coming in. I just said to myself here to hang in there and you never know what'll happen in the end. I just didn't want to throw it away."
Starting on the 10th hole on Tuesday, Houtteman got it going early with four birdies in his first six holes to get to 6-under.
"I had an eagle putt on No. 12 from about 6 feet out and I could've been at 7-under," said Houtteman, who settled for a birdie on the par 5 12th. "It was easy going at first, but then I bogeyed No. 18 and that's a tough hole just trying to hit it away from the water, but I still felt under control."
He turned at 5-under, and got back to 6-under with a birdie on No. 1.
Then, he hit a speed bump when he double-bogeyed the third to fall back to 4-under. A bogey on the par 3 sixth pushed him back to 3-under.
"Every round has to have some kind of stress in it and that was it," Houtteman said. "I realized I was still in it though and told myself to hit a good iron on the next hole."
He did, and it resulted in a bounce-back birdie on No. 7. Both Erskine and Makoski bogeyed No. 8, a 405-yard par 4, and that two-hole turn of events helped give Houtteman some breathing room. He finished with a birdie on No. 9 to clinch it.
"That birdie on No. 7 and having those guys bogeying and me parring No. 8 left me feeling pretty healthy," Houtteman said. "I was pretty proud that I regrouped and I hit a good tee shot on No. 9."
Playing in the same group with the veteran Erskine was a benefit, Houtteman said. Erskine is one of the biggest names in Michigan golf, and he has four Michigan Open and two Michigan PGA titles on his vast resume.
"It was great playing with Randy," Houtteman said. "This was our fifth or sixth round we've played together this year including the Michigan Senior Open, State Pro-Pro, and two days here. He's a great guy and he can't be more supportive.
"He's the consummate pro. He's really appreciative of good shots and he even told me to keep it going."
Erskine and Makoski both turned in up-and-down final-round performances. Erskine made five birdies against five bogeys, while Makoski's carded included four birdies and four bogeys.
Houtteman, Erskine and Makoski were tied at 3-under entering the final round.
"You don't expect guys here to make mistakes," Houtteman said. "There's seniors here, guys are 60 and over and you just don't know. I'm 51, I'm one of the younger guys, but after that birdie on No. 7 I felt pretty confident."
Bob Ackerman of Bob Ackerman Golf in Commerce Township finished fourth at 1-under 143 after closing with a 1-under 71. David Nolan of Van Dyke Sports Center in Warren was fifth at even-par 144. He shot a 1-over 73 on Tuesday.
Nick Berklich of Grand Blanc edged Larry Mancour of Oden for first place in the Over-70 Division. Berklich shot even par 72 on Tuesday and finished at 8-over 152. Mancour closed with a 5-over 77 and finished at 9-over 153.
Joining Houtteman in representing the Michigan PGA Section at the Senior PGA Professional National Championship in Virgina are Erskine, Makoski, Ackerman, Nolan, Dave Kendall of Kendall Academy of Golf in Ypsilanti, Bill Mory of Meridian Sun Golf Club in Lansing, Tom Fortuna of Knollwood Country Club in West Bloomfield, and Kevin Muir of The Wyndgate in Rochester.
Barry Redmond of the Boyne Golf Academy shot a final-round 4-over 76 to finish at 5-over 149 and tied for 15th. Dave Mocini of the Charlevoix Country Club was 36th at 19-over 163.
Golf: Experience pays for Senior PGA champ Lee Houtteman
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