Fishing & Boating News
Too Close To Call: Hackney Looks Like Leader In Photo-Finish Angler Of The Year Race
(Mar. 26, 2004 - MANNING, S.C.) Greg Hackney isn't just a bass master. On Thursday, the Louisiana pro also demonstrated his command of leapfrog, hopping over four tough competitors to take the lead in the CITGO Bassmaster Angler of the Year points race.
Hackney, who stood in fifth place in the point standings heading into the finale of the CITGO Bassmaster Tour presented by Busch Beer, is currently seventh in the tournament and, if the season wrapped up after Thursday's round, would be the 2004 Angler of the Year. The seventh-place berth is worth 272 points, bumping his total from 1,059 to 1,331.
"This is real drama: the race for the title coming down to the last event - and not just the last event, but the home stretch of the season finale," said BASS Vice President and General Manager Dean Kessel. "I can't imagine that these guys are getting any sleep at all with so much at stake."
In addition to the $111,550 winner's purse and additional $200,000 that will be distributed down to 25th place, the point standings also determine which anglers will earn berths in the 2004 CITGO Bassmaster Classic presented by Busch Beer, as well as determining the majority of the field for the upcoming Bassmaster Elite 50 series.
Hackney came into the finale with 1,059 points accumulated from strong finishes throughout the Tour season. A seventh place finish at Santee Cooper Reservoir would add 272 points to that total, launching him well ahead of the rest of the field. The second-year Tour pro is no stranger to points championships: in 2002, he was the Central Division points champion in the CITGO Bassmaster Open series, earning his Tour card and a berth in the 2003 CITGO Bassmaster Classic, where he finished a respectable 31st.
But the 2004 Tour season has defied handicappers, and there is a full day of competition to go before the field of 157 pros is cut to the top 12. If Hackney slips - or if one of the four anglers ahead of him in points makes a charge - the affable pro could lose his tentative grasp on the trophy. And he has plenty of competition from the rest of the top 10:
BASS is the world's largest fishing organization, sanctioning more than 20,000 tournaments worldwide through its Federation. This April, BASS introduces the all-new Bassmaster Elite 50 Series, a four-event, no-entry-fee circuit featuring a $1.6 million prize purse for the world's best anglers. The CITGO Bassmaster Tournament Trail presented by Busch Beer is the oldest and most prestigious pro bass-fishing tournament circuit and continues to set the standard for credibility, professionalism and sportsmanship as it has since 1968.
Sponsors of the CITGO Bassmaster Tournament Trail presented by Busch Beer include CITGO Petroleum Corp., Busch Beer, Purolator, Triton Boats, Skeeter Boats, Mercury Marine, Yamaha Outboards, Berkley, Abu Garcia, Lowrance Electronics, Flowmaster Exhaust Systems, MotorGuide, Bass Pro Shops, and BankOne.
Associate Sponsors include G3 Boats and Bryant Heating and Air Conditioning.
Local Sponsors include Clarendon County Chamber of Commerce.
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