GROVE, Okla. – The FLW Tour at Grand Lake presented by Mercury Marine is setting up for a dramatic final day on Sunday – the top 10 is stacked with a two-time FLW Tour Angler of the Year, an FLW Cup champion, a Costa FLW Series Champion, a Bass Fishing League (BFL) All-American Champion and a local angling prodigy that are all in striking distance to win the tournament, and the top prize of $125,000.
Tour stalwart Bryan Thrift of Shelby, North Carolina, who started the day in fifth place, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 19 pounds, 3 ounces to take the lead with a three-day total of 52-1.
Pro Jeremy Lawyer of Sarcoxie, Missouri, (48-14) jumped into second after bringing in a limit weighing 17-9. Billy McCaghren of Mayflower, Arkansas, (46-12), South Africa’s Michael Matthee (44-15) and reigning Costa FLW Series Champion Bradford Beavers of Summerville, South Carolina (44-6) round out the top five. Local angler, 21-year-old Sheldon Collings of Grove (39-9) moved into the top-10 cut Saturday with a five-bass limit weighing 14 pounds, 13 ounces.
With just a 3-pound, 3-ounce cushion heading into the final day, tournament-leader Thrift is excited to see how it all shakes on Championship Sunday.
“I love it – this is where I want to be,” said Thrift, who has six career victories in FLW Tour competition – tied for No. 3 all-time. “If you’re ever leading going into the final day and it doesn’t make you excited, it’s time to quit. It’s an awesome feeling and I’m excited to get back out there tomorrow.”
Thrift said that he had seven bites on Saturday, catching, “a couple on a jig and a couple on a crankbait.” He first keeper came around 9:30 a.m., and he said he caught, “one here, one there” every 45 minutes or so.
“It’s tough because I can’t look at something and say ‘that’s where I’m going to get a bite,’ Thrift said. “I’ve got to go into places and fish everything there – docks, rocks, wood, sand, gravel – I have to fish all of it because I have no idea where I’m going to get bit from. I caught two today on a bare bank. I caught one on a dock, one out of a tree and one on a rock.
“The plan for tomorrow is to do the same as I did today,” Thrift went on to say. “I’m going to fish everywhere that I’ve gotten a bite – that’ll take me about an hour. And then I’m going to run all new water. We’ll see what happens.”
The top 10 pros advancing to the final day of competition Sunday on Grand Lake are:
1st: Bryan Thrift, Shelby, N.C., 15 bass, 52-1
2nd: Jeremy Lawyer, Sarcoxie, Mo., 15 bass, 48-14
3rd: Billy McCaghren, Mayflower, Ark., 15 bass, 46-12
4th: Michael Matthee, Centurion, Gauteng, South Africa, 13 bass, 44-15
5th: Bradford Beavers, Summerville, S.C., 14 bass, 44-6
6th: Brian Latimer, Belton, S.C., 11 bass, 43-4
7th: Miles Burghoff, Hixson, Tenn., 13 bass, 42-7
8th: Berkley pro John Cox, DeBary, Fla., 12 bass, 42-4
9th: Jamie Horton, Centerville, Ala., 13 bass, 41-10
10th: Sheldon Collings, Grove, Okla., 15 bass, 39-9
Finishing in 11th through 30th are:
11th: Bailey Boutries, Daphne, Ala., 11 bass, 39-8, $12,000
12th: Jon Canada, Helena, Ala., 12 bass, 37-15, $12,000
13th: Costa pro Todd Castledine, Nacogdoches, Texas, 13 bass, 37-14, $12,000
14th: Bradley Hallman, Norman, Okla., 12 bass, 37-8, $12,000
15th: Braxton Setzer, Montgomery, Ala., 12 bass, 37-1, $12,000
16th: Matt Reed, Madisonville, Texas, 13 bass, 37-0, $11,500
17th: Ryan Chandler, Hebron, Ind., 15 bass, 36-13, $11,500
18th: Joel Willert, Prior Lake, Minn., 12 bass, 36-7, $11,500
19th: Josh Douglas, Isle, Minn., 15 bass, 35-10, $11,500
20th: Kyle Weisenburger, Ottawa, Ohio, nine bass, 35-9, $11,500
21st: Ron Farrow, Rock Hill, S.C., 11 bass, 35-9, $10,500
22nd: Yamamoto Baits pro Larry Nixon, Quitman, Ark., 12 bass, 34-5, $10,500
23rd: Shell Rotella pro Jimmy Houston, Cookson, Okla., 12 bass, 33-12, $10,500
24th: Nick LeBrun, Bossier City, La., 12 bass, 33-9 , $10,500
25th: Polaris pro David Dudley, Lynchburg, Va., 12 bass, 33-8, $10,500
26th: Joey Cifuentes, Clinton, Ark., 11 bass, 32-4, $10,500
27th: Rapala pro Terry Bolton, Benton, Ky., 10 bass, 31-8, $10,500
28th: Lendell Martin Jr., Nacogdoches, Texas, nine bass, 26-10, $10,500
29th: David Wootton, Collierville, Tenn., 10 bass, 26-6, $10,500
30th: Tyler Stewart, West Monroe, La., eight bass, 26-4, $10,500
Full results for the entire field can be found at FLWFishing.com.
Overall there were 98 bass weighing 276 pounds, 5 ounces caught by pros Saturday. Of the final 30 pros, 10 of them were able to bring a five-bass limit to the scale.
In FLW Tour competition, the full field of 165 pro anglers competed in the two-day opening round Thursday and Friday. The top 30 pros based on their two-day accumulated weight advanced to fish on Saturday. Now, only the top 10 pros continue competition Sunday, with the winner determined by the heaviest accumulated weight from the four days of competition.
The total purse for the FLW Tour at Grand Lake presented by Mercury is more than $860,000. The tournament is hosted by the City of Grove and the Cherokee Casino Grove.
Throughout the season, anglers are also vying for valuable points in hopes of qualifying for the 2019 FLW Cup, the world championship of professional bass fishing. The 2019 FLW Cup will be on Lake Hamilton in Hot Springs, Arkansas, Aug. 9-11 and is hosted by the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism and Visit Hot Springs.
Anglers will take off for the final day of competition at 7 a.m. CST Sunday from Wolf Creek Park, located at 963 N. 16th St., in Grove. Sunday’s Championship weigh-in will be held at the park beginning at 4 p.m.
In conjunction with the weigh-ins, FLW will host a free Family Fishing Expo at Wolf Creek Park from 2 to 6 p.m. Sunday. The Expo is a chance for fishing fans to meet their favorite anglers, enjoy interactive games, activities and giveaways provided by FLW sponsors, and learn more about the sport of fishing and other outdoor activities.
Television coverage of the FLW Tour at Grand Lake presented by Mercury will premiere in 2019. The Emmy-nominated "FLW" television show airs each Saturday night at 7 p.m. EST and is broadcast to more than 63 million cable, satellite and telecommunications households in the U.S., Canada and the Caribbean on the World Fishing Network (WFN), the leading entertainment destination and digital resource for anglers throughout North America. FLW television is also distributed internationally to FLW partner countries, including Canada, China, Italy, Korea, Mexico, Portugal, Spain and South Africa.
The popular FLW Live on-the-water program will air on Sunday, featuring live action from the boats of the tournament’s top pros each day. Host Travis Moran will be joined by Oklahoma Costa FLW Series pro Matt Pangrac to break down the extended action each day from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. On-the-water broadcasts will be live streamed on FLWFishing.com, the FLW YouTube channel and the FLW Facebook page.
For complete details and updated information visit FLWFishing.com. For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow the sport’s top anglers on the FLW Tour on FLW’s social media outlets at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.
FLW is the world’s largest tournament-fishing organization, providing anglers of all skill levels the opportunity to compete for millions in prize money in 2019 across five tournament circuits. Headquartered in Benton, Kentucky, with offices in Minneapolis, FLW and their partners conduct more than 290 bass-fishing tournaments annually around the world, including the United States, Canada, China, Italy, South Korea, Mexico, Portugal, South Africa and Spain. FLW tournament fishing can be seen on the Emmy-nominated “FLW" television show while FLW Bass Fishing magazine delivers cutting-edge tips from top pros. For more information visit FLWFishing.com and follow FLW at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.
# # #