Traverse City Record-Eagle

Sports

June 19, 2013

Houtteman qualifies for Senior Open

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Aim high and try to shoot low.

That’s the philosophy Lee Houttemann will take with him when he competes at the U.S. Senior Open in Omaha, Neb. in less than three weeks.

Houtteman punched his ticket to the Senior major event when he finished second at a qualifier at Worthington Hills Country Club on Monday.

Houtteman’s 68, which was 3-under par, was one stroke behind John Gagai’s first-place score at the qualifier and put both players into the Champions Tour’s third major event of the year on July 11-14 at Omaha Country Club.

“We always dream of getting in a major,” said Houtteman, the head pro at Manitou Passage Golf Club in Cedar. “I played my first one last year at the U.S. Senior PGA (he missed the cut) and I was the first alternate to get in to the (U.S. Senior Open) at Indianwood (in Benton Harbor) last year. I had to wait on the putting green and never got the call.”

This time Houtteman made sure he was included. He was in the lead when he came into the clubhouse, and though half the field still had to complete their rounds, he knew he was in good position to qualify.

“I felt pretty good because it was tough,” he said. “The greens were rock hard and they were really sloppy. You had to be underneath the hole, otherwise you had four- of five-footers all day. So I was able to do that. I was able to keep my irons under so I was putting up hill. The putting didn’t seem that tough when you were putting up hill. I was listening to guys talk and they were putting pin high, or past the pin, and they said they couldn’t stop it.”

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