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Thursday, March 29, 2007
Snapshot Day 1: 2005 Open Championship

By Steve Bowman
Bassmaster.com Exclusive — Dec. 1, 2005

  • Editor's note: The only place to see ESPN2 highlights from the Open Championship this weekend is on "BassCenter".

    While most of the 90 anglers in the Bassmaster Open Championship are fishing for one of the final five positions in the 2006 Bassmaster Classic, there are a handful of anglers fishing only for the money.

    They are: Scott Rook of Arkansas
    Gary Klein of Texas
    Terry Scroggins of Florida
    Jeff Kriet of Oklahoma

    While they are casting for the $80,000 top prize, their performance could have an impact on how the 2006 Classic plays out.

    For instance, Takahiro Omori (who is competing in the Open Championship) and Bernie Schultz (who isn't competing) are on the bubble to make the Classic. If one of those four anglers make the top five, then Omori would be in, if two make it the top five, then both are in.

    That's a compelling fact considering the two players on the bubble.

    Schultz, for example, could realistically call Lake Toho homewater. He finished 11th on Lake Toho at the Florida Top 150 Pro in 2001, the year Dean Rojas blew everybody away.

    Omori, on the other hand, has a more recent top finish. He won the Citgo Bassmaster Top 100 event there last January. Obviously he wants to get back. He barely qualified to fish in the Championship finishing in the 25th and final place in the Central Open Standings.

    If he were to finish in the top five here or have one of the four pre-qualified anglers make it he would undoubtedly be considered a favorite in the January Classic.

    That position would have to weigh heavily on Scroggins' mind. Even though, he's already in the Classic and seemingly in a no-lose situation. Things could work out to his detriment. Scroggins won the recent Southern Open on Toho, also placing him at the top of the list of the favorites for the 2006 Classic.

    One would have to bet that having Omori out of the field would give him some sense of relief. But is that relief strong enough to ensure that he doesn't finish high enough to keep Omori out.

    Bets are on that Scroggins doesn't give a rip if Omori is there or not. But wouldn't it be slightly ironic if Scroggins was the angler who fished well enough to get Omori in the Classic only to lose to him in the biggest event of the season?

    Relative to what?

    Jimmy Reese of California, representing the Western Opens, is the brother of top Bassmaster Elite Series professional, Skeet Reese.

    Jason Nixon, a no boater from Alabama, however, is not related to Larry Nixon, and Brett Hite of Arizona is no relation to Davy Hite.

    Did you know?

    Terry Scroggins led at least one day of every Southern Open tournament this season, winning the final event on Lake Toho. That win kept a three-year streak alive in which Scroggins has won a Bassmaster event each year of his three-year career.

    Kriet's lunker

    Jeff Kriet thought he had the mother of all lunkers in practice on the Coosa River. He landed a 65-pound paddlefish while fishing a drop shot on 8-pound test line. "I was fighting this fish and dialing my cell phone at the same time, trying to call some of the guys in the area. I knew nobody would believe that I caught this fish. I fought it for about 20 minutes and it jumped several times several feet in the air. It was so big it wouldn't fit on the deck of my Triton. I never got anyone on the phone, but I finally found Pete Ponds and he saw it. It was huge."

    Howell's addition

    Randy Howell has a new addition to his family. His wife, Robin, gave birth to Oakley Chase Howell was born on November 2, 2005.

    Southern Sports presenters

    Skeet Reese and Gerald Swindle aren't competing at the Open Championship, but they are making an appearance in Atlanta. The two pros were asked to be presenters at the Southern Sports awards. This inaugural event "recognizes and honors the athletes, fans and the traditions that set the South above the rest in the sports world."

    Nominees range from Dale Earnhardt Jr., and Michael Vick to Shaquille O'Neal, Steve Spurrier and Ashley Judd. Lifetime Achievement Awards will be presented to Florida State football coaching giant Bobby Bowden, stock car racing's undisputed "King," Richard Petty, and one of the most revered college basketball gurus, former University of North Carolina coach Dean Smith.

    Stiff competition

    Jeremy Guidry and Conrad Picou, both of Louisianna, have an extra feather in their tournament caps. The two anglers are the only two in the Top 10 standings of the Central Division that did not fish on the Tour level last year.