GROVE, Okla. — "Shootout" was the word most often heard at the Sunday morning start of the Sooner Run presented by Longhorn Moist Snuff.Oklahoma's Jeff Kriet, who has never won a Bassmaster Elite Series tournament, has a lead of only seven ounces over three-time BASS Angler of the Year Kevin VanDam. Kriet's three-day total weight is 59 pounds, 13 ounces. VanDam has 59-6. Lurking close behind are rookie Marty Robinson, just 1 pound, 12 ounces back, and Kevin Short, who is only 3-15 out of the lead.The rest of the final 12 pros competing for a $100,000 first place check have a little more ground to make up — anywhere from 6-10 to 10-6.
"Basically, today is a one-day shootout," Kriet said. "And a little ol' 16-pound bag isn't going to get it done today."
Kriet zoomed past VanDam, the leader the first two days, with the biggest bag of tournament, 24-11, on Saturday.
"What's VanDam going to do with another trophy?" Kriet said. "Put it in his garage? If I win, that trophy is going on my kitchen table."While Kriet, who is from Ardmore, Okla., hasn't won after a season-and-a-half of the Bassmaster Elite Series, this year he's been one of the most consistent anglers on the circuit. Jared Lintner and Kriet are the only pros who have earned a check with at least a top 50 finish in each of the eight Elite Series tournaments in 2007.
"I don't think anybody can catch him (today)," said Mike McClelland of Kriet, who has been his on-the-road roommate for the past two seasons. "He's fishing with so much confidence right now."
Kriet started this week sixth in Toyota Tundra Angler of the Year points. He'll move up a few places no matter what happens Sunday, just as VanDam will move past Skeet Reese for first place in the AOY point standings, no matter what happens Sunday.
VanDam, who caught 21-plus pounds each of the first two days, was pleased with the partly cloudy skies he saw before Sunday's 6:10 launch. He thought Saturday's rainy weather would only help him. However, that wasn't the case as VanDam brought only 16-3 to the weigh-in stand."I noticed yesterday the white bass weren't coming up either when we had that cloud cover," VanDam said. "I think that was the story."The story today will be whether Kriet can hold off who he refers to as the Tiger Woods of bass fishing, VanDam, plus Robinson and Short.It's definitely going to be a shootout.The weigh-in begins at 3:30 p.m. Sunday at the North Beach Development.
Editor's note: ESPNOutdoors.com invited the University of Oklahoma bass fishing team to join coverage of the Sooner Run. The collegiate anglers will post a regular blog and appear on Hooked Up, the live Internet shows that air at 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. ET today in advance of the live weigh-in. Bob Cobb, creator of Bassmaster Magazine and Bassmaster television, will be the special guest on Hooked Up.
The live weigh-in and a realtime leaderboard will be at approximately 4:40 p.m. ET. Please feel free to post comments to this blog via the ESPN Conversation feature at the bottom of this and every news page on this site.