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Young Rookie Leads Walmart FLW Tour on Table Rock Lake Presented by Kellogg’s
3/31/2012
Credit:
FLW press release
BRANSON, Mo. (March 30, 2012) – The pressure mounted Friday at the Walmart FLW Tour Major on Table Rock Lake presented by Kellogg’s as a full field of pros from all across the United States, Canada, Spain and Japan continued their four-day battle for a top cash award of up to $125,000. But nobody told Friday’s rookie pro leader that professional bass fishing was supposed to be difficult.

Nineteen-year-old Kyle Welcher of Opelika, Ala., took the lead after weighing a five-bass limit for a massive 24 pounds, 8 ounces. Welcher’s two-day catch of 10 bass weighing 44 pounds, 4 ounces gives him a 2-pound, 4-ounce lead heading into the third day of the tournament.

“This is so far beyond my expectations,” said Welcher, who is fishing in only his second FLW Tour event. “It’s overwhelming. There’s 159 of the best (pros) behind me and I just had the good fortune to inch them out after day 2.

“I’ve been recording “FLW” TV on my DVR since I was 10 years old,” Welcher added. “It’s amazing to be leading this thing. I’m not trying to ignore that I’m leading this, but leading after the fourth day is what really matters.”

Welcher, who took Thursday’s big bass honors with a 7-6 giant, said his day began slowly Friday and his co-angler boated the first fish of the day, a 6-pound, 2-ounce lunker, after Welcher had made only four casts. Welcher went two or three hours without a 15-inch keeper fish. At 1 p.m. Welcher caught his first 5-pounder of the day. More quality fish followed after that.

“I think the fish are moving up still where I’m fishing,” Welcher said. “As soon as the wind died down, the water warmed up a bit more and the fish came straight to the bank and started eating.”

Despite his inexperience at the Tour level, Welcher displayed confidence in his abilities and his shot at a FLW Tour title.

“I’m more confident in my area today than I was yesterday,” Welcher said. “I feel like my area’s actually improving. Tomorrow I’m going to go out and stay in that right area with an open mind and eventually the fish will tell me where they’re at, how they’re positioned and maybe I can string together another good sack.”

Veteran pro Stacey King of Reeds Spring, Mo., is in the No. 2 spot with a two-day total of 10 bass weighing 42-0.

Rounding out the top 20 pros that will fish Saturday on Table Rock Lake are:

3rd: Spencer Shuffield, Bismarck, Ark., 10 bass, 40-4

4th: Day 1 leader Blake Nick, Adger, Ala., 10 bass, 37-15

5th: Rayovac pro Jason Christie, Park Hill, Okla., 10 bass, 37-7

6th: Brent Long, Cornelius, N.C., 10 bass, 36-12

7th: John Devere, Berea, Ky., 10 bass, 35-14

8th: Clent Davis, Montevallo, Ala., 10 bass, 35-8

9th: Snickers pro Chris Baumgardner, Gastonia, N.C., 10 bass, 34-14

10th: OFF! pro Terry Bolton, Paducah, Ky., 10 bass, 33-14

11th: Clint Brownlee, Tifton, Ga., 10 bass, 33-14

12th: Chevy pro Anthony Gagliardi, Prosperity, S.C., 10 bass, 33-14

13th: Straight Talk pro Scott Canterbury, Springville, Ala., 10 bass, 33-4

14th: Robert Behrle, Hoover, Ala., 10 bass, 33-3

15th: Kettle Brand Chips pro Dan Morehead, Paducah, Ky., 10 bass, 33-3

16th: Dr Pepper TEN pro Glenn Browne, Ocala, Fla., 10 bass, 32-6

17th: Craig Dowling, Nashville, Tenn., 10 bass, 32-3

18th: Troy Morrow, Eastanollee, Ga., 10 bass, 32-1

19th: Christopher Brasher, Spring, Texas, 10 bass, 32-0

20th: Tom Monsoor, LaCrosse, Wis., 10 bass, 31-14

Final results for the remaining field can be found on FLWOutdoors.com.

King won the day’s big bass award with a fish weighing 8-0 on the pro side to win $500.

Pros are competing for a top award of up to $125,000 this week plus valuable points in the hope of qualifying for the 2012 Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart, the world championship of bass fishing. The top 35 anglers in the point standings from the six Walmart FLW Tour Major tournaments will qualify.

Patrick Bone of Cleveland, Ga., leads the co-angler division with a two-day total of nine bass weighing 23 pounds, 10 ounces, followed by Brock Bertrand of Fayetteville, Ark., in second place with seven bass weighing 22-15.

Rounding out the top 20 co-anglers are:

3rd: Hector Delagarza, Rockwall, Texas, eight bass, 22-3

4th: Steven Meador, Bella Vista, Ark., nine bass, 21-4

5th: Tom Spangler, Corryton, Tenn., eight bass, 20-12

6th: J.R. Wright Truckee, Calif., nine bass, 19-15

7th: Kevin Spooner, Vero Beach, Fla., seven bass, 19-4

8th: Steve Redwine, Blue Ash, Ohio, six bass, 18-14

9th: Max Wilson, Everton, Mo., seven bass, 18-14

10th: Mark Shelton, Fayetteville, Ark., six bass, 18-1

11th: Jerry Reagan, Byrdstown, Tenn., seven bass, 17-8

12th: Bryan New, Belmont, N.C., eight bass, 17-2

13th: Chad Pipkens, Holt, Mich., seven bass 17-1

14th: Kevin Gordon, Aiken, S.C., seven bass, 16-15

15th: Nick Hensley, Cumming, Ga., seven bass, 16-14

16th: J.B. King, Byrdstown, Tenn., eight bass, 16-11

17th: Casey Martin, New Market, Ala., six bass, 15-13

18th: Jeff Sprague, Forney, Texas, seven bass, 15-10

19th: Derek Yamamoto, Boulder City, Nev., five bass, 15-9

20th: Mike Helton, Jeffersonville, Ind., six bass, 15-9

Final results for the remaining field can be found on FLWOutdoors.com.

Bob Pender of Mission, Kan., won the day’s big bass award with a fish weighing 7-3 in the co-angler division to win $250.

Co-anglers are fishing for a top award of $25,000 this week plus valuable points that could help them qualify for the 2012 Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart. The top 35 co-anglers in the point standings from the six Walmart FLW Tour Major tournaments will qualify.

Anglers will take off from Table Rock State Park Marina located at 380 State Park Marina Road in Branson at 7 a.m. each morning. Saturday and Sunday’s final weigh-ins will be held at the Walmart located at 1101 Branson Hills Pkwy. in Branson beginning at 4 p.m.

Fans will be treated to the FLW Outdoors Expo at the Walmart on Saturday and Sunday from noon-4 p.m. prior to the final weigh-ins. The Expo includes Ranger boat simulators, the opportunity to interact with professional anglers, enjoy interactive games, activities and giveaways provided by sponsors, and fans can learn more about the sport of fishing and other outdoor activities. A $500 Walmart gift card will be given away to one lucky fan Sunday (winner must be present to win). All activities are free and open to the public.

Coverage of the Table Rock Lake tournament will be broadcast in high-definition (HD) on NBC Sports Network when “FLW” airs May 6 from 1 - 2 p.m. ET. "FLW" is hosted by Jason Harper and is broadcast to more than 559 million households worldwide, making it the most widely distributed weekly outdoors-sports television show in the world.