UPCOMING EVENT: PHOENIX BASS FISHING LEAGUE - 2020 - James River

Missouri’s Clunn leaps into day-two lead

Texan Clark Wendlandt makes record 11th semifinal cut

BENTONVILLE, Ark. - Rick Clunn of Ava, Mo., caught five bass that weighed 16 pounds, 5 ounces Thursday to rally from 13th place and claim the day-two lead with a first-round total of 27-11 at the Wal-Mart Open on Beaver Lake.

Clunn and nine other pros, including defending Wal-Mart Open champion and Land O'Lakes Angler of the Year points leader Clark Wendlandt of Cedar Park, Texas, will renew their quest for a $200,000 payday in Friday's semifinal round.

Wendlandt's semifinal appearance, his third this year and the 11th of his career, is a new Wal-Mart FLW Tour record. Wendlandt was previously tied with 1999 Angler of the Year David Walker of Cannon, Ky., for most top-10 appearances. Wendlandt has only missed one FLW Tour top-10 cut this season.

"I feel fortunate just to be here and to make the top 10," said Wendlandt who finished day two in third place. "Angler of the Year is not something you can fish for. You just have to go out and do the best you can at each tournament."

Wendlandt is leading the Land O'Lakes Angler of the Year race with 271 points. Randy Howell of Trussville, Ala., and Stephen Browning of Hot Springs, Ark., trail Wendlandt with 216 and 209 points respectively.

The winner of the Land O'Lakes Angler title will receive $25,000 and a Johnson- or Evinrude-powered Ranger 518 VX bass boat. The winner also will be featured on a special series of Kellogg's cereal boxes.

Rounding out the top five spots in the Pro Division were Tommy Biffle of Wagoner, Okla., in second with 25-15; Peter Thliveros of Jacksonville, Fla., in fourth with 23-10; and Mark Hardin of Canton, Ga., in fifth with 23-4.

"If I could carry my weight over, I'd feel good," Clunn said. "But with this format, it's anyone's game. Too many things can happen."

In the Co-Angler Division, Frank Divis Sr. of Fayetteville, Ark., retained his lead with a 9-pound, 13-ounce catch Thursday for a two-day total of 10 bass weighing 20-9.

David Hudson of Jasper, Ala., is leading the Co-Angler of the Year race with 263 points. The Co-Angler of the Year will receive priority entry into the FLW Tour Pro Division and a Ranger R91 boat powered by an Evinrude or Johnson outboard.

The big bass honors for the day went to co-anglers Randal Ripperger of Des Moines, Iowa., and Curtis Thompson of Baytown, Texas, who each caught a 5-pound, 15-ounce bass. Pro Bill Chapman of Salt Rock, W.Va., however, won the Coca-Cola Big Bass award of $1,000 for the heaviest bass caught during round one, a 7-pound, 8-ounce largemouth that he landed on opening day. At the end of the season, Coca-Cola will award $5,000 for the biggest bass of the year. Quinton Stacy of Bassett, Va., is leading the Coca-Cola Big Bass race with an 8-pound, 10-ounce largemouth he caught on Lake Murray near Lexington, S.C.

Anglers competing in the Pro Division will start over Friday and fish for one day to secure one of five slots in Saturday's final round. Co-angler competition ends Friday.

Competition continues at 8 a.m. Friday at Prairie Creek Marina in Rogers, Ark. Friday's weigh-in begins at 5 p.m. at the Wal-Mart Supercenter located at 406 South Walton Blvd. in Bentonville. Saturday's action begins at 6:30 a.m. at Prairie Creek Marina and the final weigh-in, which will be broadcast live to Wal-Mart stores nationwide, begins at 3:30 p.m. at Wal-Mart. The weigh-in also will air as part of the Wal-Mart FLW Tour series on ESPN at 1:30 p.m. EST May 14.

Tags: press-release  2000-04-12-beaver-lake 

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