The 2012 golf season has already been a banner year for Lee Houtteman.
The Grand Traverse Resort & Spa pro played in his first major championship in May at the Senior PGA Championship.
Last month, he got to experience life as a defending champion, as he played in the Michigan Tournament of Champions follwing a win in 2011.
Now, Houtteman can add a victory to the resume for 2012.
Houtteman beat Ann Arbor's Tim Katanski 3 and 1 on Tuesday at the Midland Country Club to win the Michigan PGA Match Play Championship. It's the second "Michigan Major" victory for Houtteman.
"It's a nice feeling for all the work I put in last winter getting ready for the Senior PGA," Houtteman said. "It's all paying off. If you work on the right stuff, under the gun in that tournament, I knew I could hit the shots."
Did he ever. Houtteman won the Pro-Am to start the event and then kept rolling, including a match where he reached 7-under.
"I just love the golf course," Houtteman said. "It's tight, so you have to hit good shots instead of just bombing away."
That's not to say it was easy, though.
"My route to the finals was pretty tough," Houtteman said. "Everyone looked at the bracket and the guys were saying the left side was tough. There were 22 major championships won by those guys, and on the other side there was one."
Golfers played the first two rounds in their respective sections before the final 16 headed to Midland. There, Houtteman opened with a familiar foe in the round of 16, GT Resort head pro Scott Hebert.
"I had Scott in the first round," Houtteman said. "We had a good match. Three weeks prior there was a lot of trash talking going on at the shop, but we were supportive. Scott's a professional, so it was 'good shot' here and 'good shot' there."
Hebert took a two-shot lead early, but the pair were even at the turn. Houtteman got a two-shot lead on the back nine and closed it out 2 and 1 when they both had par on 17.
In the quarterfinals, Houtteman shot 7-under to beat Harry Dixon 6 and 5.
"I had a stretch where I had birdie on 11, eagle on 12 and birdied 13 and 14 to close it out," Houtteman said.
Houtteman said his semifinal match agains Brian Cairns was his toughest, but he closed it out with two difficult birdies down the stretch for a 2 and 1 win.
That set up the showdown with Katanski for the title.
"I played pretty steady against him," Houtteman said. "I got up three early and then in my typical form I gave him a couple back, so I was only 1-up after 15. Then I made a great par on 16 to go 2-up and made par on 17 to close it out."
The win came in Houtteman's final event for the year in Michigan. He'll play in the Senior PGA Professional National Championship in Virginia next month. The top 20 finishers qualify for next year's Senior PGA Championship.
Until then, it's back to work for Houtteman as a teaching pro. He's heading to Arizona and Hawaii to do some corporate events.
"It is work in Hawaii," Houtteman said. "I do a couple of clinics. It is nice when you look right and left to see the ocean, but I'm not just sitting on a patio sipping on a drink with an umbrella. I'm working."