It seems like yesterday when Ridgeview’s Isaac Buerger was making his first run at a Class 5A state golf title. As a freshman, he made a double eagle on the par-5 15th hole at Trysting Tree in Corvallis on the way to a fifth-place finish at the 2016 state tournament.
But Buerger, who went on to win the state title as a sophomore, is now a senior and making plans for the next step in his golf career. Buerger signed a letter of intent Nov. 15 to play collegiately at Weber State University in Ogden, Utah.
Buerger decided to attend Weber State, which competes in the NCAA Division I Big Sky Conference, after making it the last of his three campus visits, along with Oregon State and Idaho, he said. He immediately was impressed with the school and coaches.
“It felt like it was family,” he said. “Everything about the school was very nice.”
Buerger first became aware of Weber State when he attended the Wildcats football game at Oregon State in 2015, he said. A friend told him Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard attended the school, which led to Buerger want to learn more about it.
Weber State finished fourth of eight teams in April’s Big Sky Men’s Golf Championship. In golf, the league features teams from Hartford, Connecticut, to Sacramento. In the fall 2018 season, the Wildcats finished between eighth and 16th in their tournaments, which range in size from 16 to 20 teams in the field. They will only lose one senior from the current roster.
Ogden’s elevation of 4,300 feet above sea level is even higher than Central Oregon’s. While it can get cold in winter, Buerger said Weber State has excellent indoor golf facilities.
Buerger, who’s maintained a 3.5 grade-point average despite missing considerable class time because of golf, will be the first male in his family to attend college. He became emotional when family members talked about that during his signing ceremony at Ridgeview.
Buerger will major in criminal justice at Weber State and plans to be a police officer if his initial goal of a pro golf career doesn’t work out.
“I want to come back here and serve the community,” he said. “I love it here.”
Buerger still has one more season in Raven purple before he officially wears the Wildcat purple. He finished fifth at state as a junior after coming back from a back injury and a painful appendectomy. But he led the Ravens to a sixth-place finish in team competition, after going to state as the only Ridgeview representative his first two years.
“That was really fun for him to lead his team to victory, not just individually,” Redmond School District Athletic Director Kevin Bryant said at Buerger’s signing ceremony.
Buerger is focusing on academics this semester, giving him more time to play golf in the spring, said his father, Ridgeview boys golf coach Ron Buerger. Ron also oversees golf operations at Eagle Crest Resort. Isaac’s mother, Shela Buerger, is an educational assistant at Ridgeview.
“Coming off the winter he had, he put in a lot of hard work and got to that place where he made this possible,” Ron Buerger said. “I’m so proud of the fact that he beared down and did what he needed to do to get over the finish line.”
Isaac Buerger, who doesn’t turn 18 until August, would like to finish his time in high school with another state title to join the one he earned as a sophomore at Quail Valley in Banks.
“I know I’m capable of doing it, I’ve just got to work hard,” he said.
He plans to try to qualify for major amateur championships to help him prepare for college.
“It’s a big jump, but I’m excited for it,” Isaac said.
— Reporter: 541-548-2186, gfolsom@ redmondspokesman.com