Sometimes it takes longer than expected to close out a victory.
David Reasoner understood that when he couldn’t contain his excitement on the green of the first hole at Morris County Golf Club. The 37-year old rolled in a short birdie putt on the 19th hole to defeat Frank Esposito and capture his first major at the Greg Norman Match Play Championship.
“It was a bit of a surreal moment,” the Head PGA Professional at Ridgewood Country Club said. “A lot of my former assistants came out to watch. It was fun to have the guys there rooting me on.”
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It wasn’t an easy road getting the Jack Mitchell trophy.
Reasoner battled from three-down in his quarterfinal and semifinal matches. On Monday, he defeated Travis Deibert of The Ridge at Back Brook, who made the finals in two of his last three years, in 20 holes.
“[Travis] is a great competitor,” Reasoner said. “It was a push to get through that first round.”
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.
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Reasoner, who is president of the New Jersey Section, is the second consecutive qualifier to win the Greg Norman Match Play Championship.
“I’m a player that takes a lot of chances,” Reasoner said. “It gave me an opportunity to really play aggressive. I couldn’t be more excited.”