<
>

The candidates narrow

A couple of weeks ago, we posted a story about the anglers competing in the postseason entitled, "Anyone Can Win!" At the time, it was accurate. Today, however, things have changed.

With one of two postseason tournaments in the books, the number of Elite anglers who could still conceivably win the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year award has been trimmed significantly. Three days ago, 12 anglers had hopes of taking the title. Today, the number is down to six and, realistically, it's probably smaller than that.

Here are the anglers who have a mathematical shot at winning AOY this year:

The rest fished themselves out of contention at Lake Jordan. Several of them had only slim chances anyway. Kelly Jordon dropped all the way from fourth to 11th. Todd Faircloth moved from fifth to eighth and out of the running.

With his 10th place finish at Jordan, 2008 Classic champ Alton Jones all but extinguished his hopes of an AOY title in 2009. To claim the top spot, he needs to win the tournament on the Alabama River while Skeet Reese and Kevin VanDam finish at the bottom of the field.

Things aren't much brighter for Randy Howell or Tommy Biffle.

Mike Iaconelli and Kevin VanDam are in better shape, but neither of them has reason to be very optimistic. Reese would have to finish eighth or worse and Iaconelli would have to win — plus VanDam would need to leave the door open by finishing third or worse — for Ike to take his second AOY crown.

And VanDam will need to finish very near the top while Reese finishes in the bottom half for KVD to win his fifth AOY title.

As for Reese, he controls his own destiny as we wind up Toyota Trucks Championship Week. If he finishes in the top half of the 12-angler field, only VanDam can catch him (and then only by finishing first or second).

If Reese can finish in the top four on the Alabama River, no one can catch him.

Points will be awarded as follows:

An angler must weigh in a legal fish in order to earn any points at all. Ties in the final standings — after both postseason events — will be broken by tallying the postseason catches of the tied anglers. The angler with more weight wins.

In the end, each of the Toyota 12 is fighting for his share of the Angler of the Year prize pool. The 12 spots will be paid as follows: