Jul 28, 2007 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Right from the time they arrived in Central New York, competitors at the Bassmaster Memorial believed that the tournament would be decided by small fractions.
Sure enough, when it came time to cut the 51-man field down to 12 Friday night, one ounce separated the elite from those whose chance at $250,000 had gone away.
Jeff Kriet fell on the right side of the line. He improved from 13 pounds 3 ounces to 14 pounds 11 ounces on day two, setting himself at 27 pound 14 ounces.
Kelly Jordon was on the other end of it. In second place when the day started after a 15 pound, 15-ounce haul on Thursday, he slipped back to 11 pounds 14 ounces to finish at 27-13, one ounce from moving ahead.
Of the 12 anglers that began the day in the top positions, seven stayed there, surviving difficult conditions on Oneida Lake.
As on Thursday, every competitor reached the five-fish limit. What separated the survivors from the also-rans was the occasional bite by a largemouth that could prove valuable.
At times on Friday afternoon, it got even more serious. Shaw Grigsby felt electric shocks in his boat when rain and lightning moved into the area. It got close enough to nearly damage Grigsby’s boat before he was able to make it to safety.
Dean Rojas, fifth when the day got underway, became the top qualifier with a haul of 17 pound 9 ounces, giving him 33 pounds 1 ounce for the tournament. First-day leader Steve Kennedy was second with 32 pounds 6 ounces. Jared Linter qualified, too, all while his wife back home awaited the birth of a new baby at any moment.
No one made a bigger move than Skeet Reese. His total of 17 pounds 7 ounces lifted him from the back of the pack into fifth place. Three recent Bassmaster Classic champions — Boyd Duckett, Kevin VanDam and Takahiro Omori — did not make the cut.
Now all the scores get wiped out, and the top 12 go out Saturday morning on a six-hole “course” set up on Onondaga Lake. Weigh-ins are again at 6 p.m. at Onondaga Lake Park, and the top six advance to Sunday’s final on that same course with the big money at stake.
The 12 qualifiers:
1. Dean Rojas, 33 pounds 1 ounce
2. Steve Kennedy, 32-7
3. Jared Lintner, 30-9
4. Skeet Reese, 30-3
5. John Murray, 30-0
6. Peter Thliveros, 29-7
7. Jason Quinn, 29-7
8. Michael Iaconelli, 28-15
9. John Crews, 28-14
10. Randy Howell, 28-8
11. Dave Wolak, 28-2
12. Jeff Kriet, 27-14