2011 Elite Series - Diamond Drive Arkansas River - Little Rock, AR, Jun 9 - 12, 2011

Five points on AOY points

Kevin VanDam and Skeet Reese
James Overstreet
Skeet Reese and Kevin VanDam preparing for the morning launch.

Data mining of the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year points standings as of Friday night, June 10, turned up a few interesting, um, well…points about possible Classic qualification scenarios.

One: Brothers Chris and Bobby Lane have 1,494 points each. They sit at 14th and 15th place, respectively. That doesn’t pit brother against brother because where they’re standing, the award would be the same for both: a 2012 Classic qualification. Both the Lanes made the Classic in 2008, but have yet to duplicate that brother act.

Two: The Classic cutline is at 28th place. But double qualifiers will expand the number of Elite pros in the 2012 Classic. That’s because when a pro nails a Classic berth through a route other than the Elite points system, the points berth goes to the next Elite pro on the list. All Elite event winners, for example, win a Classic entry. If those event winners are high in the points — and six of seven now are — their duplicate berths go to Elite pros just below the 28 cutline.

Three: The above scenario means that the wait for a first Classic berth may be over for Marty Robinson, Elite pro since 2007; and Pat Golden, in the Elite field since 2008.

Four: Even closer to their first taste of a Classic as competitors are Keith Poche, an Elite rookie in 2010; and Ott DeFoe, 2011 rookie. Both are well above the 28 cutline.

Five: Skeet Reese, the 2009 Classic champ who hasn’t missed qualifying since 2002, isn’t likely to ride the Elite points into the 2012 contest. He’s hovering in the 60s after two days of Diamond Drive fishing. His options include winning next week’s Dixie Duel or winning one of the five remaining 2011 Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Open events.

While the points system determines Classic qualifications, the main function is as a competition for the season’s top angler award worth $100,000 and a prestigious title. As of Friday, the leaders in the Bassmaster Angler of the Year award competition were Kevin VanDam leading Edwin Evers, Steve Kennedy, Alton Jones and Terry Scroggins, in that order.

The standings change daily. Points earned at the Diamond Drive will be officially awarded after the tournament ends Sunday.

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