The odds were a little long, being the No. 54 seed in a field of 64, but David Reasoner of Ridgewood managed to claim his first New Jersey PGA major championship when he defeated Hall of Famer Frank Esposito ,19 holes, in the final of the NJPGA Greg Norman Match-Play on Wednesday, May 3, at Morris County Golf Club in Morristown.

Reasoner, 37, long-time head professional at Ridgewood, became the first active NJPGA president to win a major during his term. Last year, he teamed with Alex Beach to win the Head Pro-Assistant Pro Championship.

“It’s really exciting. It’s great. Look at the list of guys I had to beat. I like match-play. It suits my game. I’ve been known to play aggressive and never take an unplayable. With match play, I can take chances and be aggressive.”

In his sixth and final match, Reasoner won with a birdie on the first playoff hole, the first hole at Morris County, when he hit a lob wedge to four feet. That was the last of several tight matches during the tournament.

In the semifinal, he defeated Spring Lake’s Matt McKeon, 1 up, after edging Royce Brook’s Jim Famula, 1 up, in the quarterfinals.

Along the way, Reasoner also got past Travis Diebert of Ridge at Back Brook, 20 holes; Kavin Maciorowski of Westlake, 4 and 3, and Brent Studer of Metedeconk National, 3 and 2.

“I’m very busy with my job and I’ve been trying to play when I can. I’ve have been working on my short game. It was a tough draw to get past those six guys. It was good. Membership has been very supportive of me.

“It was a bit of a surreal moment,” .Reasoner said. “A lot of my former assistants came out to watch. It was fun to have the guys there rooting me on.”

Reasoner battled from three-down in his quarterfinal and semifinal matches. On Monday, he defeated Deibert , who made the finals in two of his last three years, in 20 holes.

The No. 54 seeded Reasoner birdied the first two holes in the finals against Esposito, the No. 9 seed. He built a 4-up lead through eight holes before Esposito fought back to go 1-up heading to the par-3 17th.

But Esposito’s tee shot fell short of the green, and Reasoner took advantage by making an uphill birdie putt to head to 18 all square.

“I feel like I putted the ball pretty well and tried to stay positive,” Reasoner said.

Both competitors had a look at birdie on the 18th green, but made par to extend the match.

On the first hole of the playoff, Reasoner knocked his approach shot to the right of the hole, where he made his birdie putt.

Reasoner is the second consecutive qualifier to win the Greg Norman Match Play Championship.

-NJPGA contributed to this article

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