AOY over, heartburn begins

DECATUR, Ala. -- The Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year race may be over but there is still a ton of drama playing out in the points list that it is based on.

The list also decides who will go to the Toyota Trucks All-Star Week and who will eventually represent the Elite Series in the 2012 Bassmaster Classic.

The All-Star Week is mostly set. Davy Hite is in eighth place. The only way he could get knocked out is if Keith Poche were to win this event, giving him a 6-point margin in points over Hite.

When it comes to the Classic qualifying, it gets a little more contentious.

The way the system works is the top 28 anglers after the season get an automatic berth into the Classic. If the returning champion is in that list, then it goes down one spot to 29th place.

That would be Kevin VanDam. And after Day Three of the Dixie Duel, 29th place in the AOY standings is David Walker. He’s 3rd in the event and has to stay in the top 5 to be assured of a Classic bid. If he doesn’t then he could drop as low as 40th place in the AOY with a 12th-place finish in this event.

With 29 places assured, any event winners of all the Elite Series and Opens are pulled out of that as double qualifiers. In this case, that moves the list down six more places for each Elite winner inside the cut -- Shaw Grigsby is 48th,  so he won’t bring the number down.

That puts the top 35 of the AOY standings after tomorrow into the Classic. Marty Robinson, who has finished his season but could fall a position based on what Kelly Jordon does Sunday, is currently holding the 35th position.

Here is where it starts to get tricky.

Add another spot for Gerald Swindle, who won a Southern Open, and the magic number is 36th, where Jordon sits currently. Jordon, though, could finish higher than his Day Three 7th place and swap places with Robinson. Or, if he were to finish in 8th, he would drop into a tie with Brent Chapman. He drops two places and Chapman is 36th and Jordon is 37th.

And it gets even trickier. Sitting atop the tournament standings is Bradley Roy, who can only qualify to the Classic if he wins the Dixie Duel. If he does, then the anglers below 36th place will start hoping and praying that one of the 35 anglers above them wins one or all of the five remaining Open events. Each of the winners in those events receives automatic bids if they fish all three events within the division.

If Roy doesn’t win and any of the final 12 anglers, except Russ Lane or Bernie Schultz, win the Dixie Duel, then the list goes down to 37th and a whole new set of anglers start hoping for Elite winners in Open competition.

It can get more confusing if you let it. But every angler in the AOY list from 35th place to 40th place will be watching how the final day plays out with an agenda of their own, all of it revolving around hopes and dreams of a Classic bid.




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