CORVALLIS — Failing to repeat as medalist a year ago, Isaac Buerger needed no additional motivation as he competed in the 2019 Class 5A boys golf state championships.
But he got it Tuesday morning anyway, in a text from his grandmother. “Play for your grandpa,” it read.
“I wrote his name on my golf ball and I just played for him today,” Issac Buerger said of his grandfather Daryl Buerger, who died of pancreatic cancer two years ago. “When something wasn’t going the way I wanted it to I’d just think of him. He was my biggest role model.
“I knew I was good enough to win it last year and I kind of let it slip away from me. I just wanted to get back here and give it another run and give it all I’ve got.”
Leading by one stroke after Monday’s even-par 71, Buerger shot 4-under 67 Tuesday to win the individual 5A state championship by a convincing eight strokes at Trysting Tree Golf Course.
“I’m so happy with how I played these two days,” said Buerger, who bogeyed his first four holes Monday but finished with two eagles on the back nine.
“To battle back and shoot 4 under for the tournament was my best accomplishment and I’m just ecstatic to be champion again,” said Buerger, whose 36-hole total of 138 was the lowest of two days of state championship golf at Trysting Tree, which also hosted the 6A boys tournament. Buerger’s score was one stroke better than 6A medalist Andrew Reinhardt of Jesuit.
“I know that a lot of my junior golf competition plays at the 6A level so I knew that it would be really cool to beat all the 6A guys, too, so that they wouldn’t have anything to say,” Buerger said. “I was really happy to beat them.”
Buerger, who has accepted a golf scholarship to play at Weber State in Utah, finished his final high school round with 14 pars, four birdies and zero bogeys.
“I was just steady all day and for them to have to beat a guy who doesn’t make a bogey the entire day is really hard,” Buerger said. “That was my biggest goal is don’t make any mistakes. I didn’t. I played a really solid round.”
Tuesday’s 67 tied Buerger’s lowest score in any tournament.
“The thing that really helped me stay in the moment is that I’ve never shot a bogey-free round in my life,” he said. “I wasn’t focused on winning (during) those final few holes. I was more focused on not making a bogey.”
Buerger’s play led Ridgeview’s team to second place in 5A with a two-day total of 644.
Junior Justin McMahon shot 79-79—158 for the Ravens, No. 2 for the team and tied for 13th place overall.
Playing on its home course, Crescent Valley ran away with the team title, carding a 307-302—609.
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