The quest to be Elite

Last Saturday, with two of the three 2012 Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Southern Open events in the books, the points standings took shape. After the season’s three events, the top five pros will automatically qualify for a spot in the 2013 Bassmaster Elite Series.

If the Opens were to end now, the five at the top would be: 1) Clifford Pirch, Payson, Ariz., 376 points; 2) Kevin Hawk, Guntersville, Ala., 372 points; 3) Jason Williamson (a 2012 Elite pro), Aiken, S.C., 361 points; 4) Greg Vinson (a 2012 Elite pro), Wetumpka, Ala., 357 points; and 5) Kelly Jaye, Dadeville, Ala., 345 points.

Under a revised points system for 2012, pros receive 1 point for every place achieved within the field. In a field of 184 (the actual number of pros in last week’s Open), the winner receives 184 points, second place 183 points, and so on.

In the case of double-qualifiers, B.A.S.S. would work down the Opens points list to offer the Elite spot to the next-highest ranking pro.