Angler Bags his third Bassmaster
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Kevin VanDam of Kalamazoo, Mich., the five-time and reigning angler of the year on the BASS tour, won his third Bassmasters Classic — the so-called Super Bowl of bass fishing — Sunday at Lay Lake to pocket $500,000.
Despite chilly conditions, VanDam used a red-eye shad lure to pull five-fish limits from a spawning flat back in a creek for three straight days and post a cumulative total of 51 pounds, 6 ounces — more than good enough to beat Jeff Kriet of Ardmore, Okla., by 5 pounds.
VanDam, who won in 2001 and 2005, trails only Rick Clunn (four) on the all-time Classic win list. He went into the final day trailing Kriet by 2 ounces but boated a limit of 19-7 on Sunday.
"Well, this was a challenging week weatherwise," said VanDam, who has fished seven Classics in the state. "I've had a lot of success in Alabama over the years, but a win has always alluded me. I love fishing these lakes."
Pam Martin-Wells, the second woman to ever fish the Classic and the first to make the final-day cut of 25 anglers, finished 22nd (25-0). Lakeland's Bobby Lane was 15th, and Gainesville's Shaw Grigsby was 21st.
Russ Lane of Alabama took big-bass honors (6-2).
Lung infection forces Federer out of Dubai
Top-ranked Roger Federer withdrew from the Dubai Championships because of a lung infection. Organizers said the Swiss star picked up the infection last week and will miss the $2 million event, which starts today. Federer is expected to return at Indian Wells, Calif., on March 11. Andy Roddick withdrew from the event Saturday.
Keegan Championships: In the tallest matchup in ATP history, 6-foot-9 Sam Querrey rallied in the second tiebreaker and took advantage of a faltering 6-foot-6 John Isner in the third set to win the final 6-7 (3-7), 7-6 (7-5), 6-3 in Memphis.
Cellular South Cup: Top-seeded Maria Sharapova, who had played only one match this season, beat Sofia Arvidsson 6-2, 6-1 to win the final in Memphis late Saturday.
Soccer: The MLS players union accused management of failing to bargain seriously and wouldn't say whether it will play under the terms of its expired labor contract. A day after MLS president Mark Abbott announced the league's offer to start the season next month without a new deal and that management offered $60 million in new money, the union issued a pair of statements that left open the possibility of the league's first strike.
Greyhounds: Filipelli & O'Donnell used a 16-win week to increase its lead over Patriot to 92-88 in the Derby Lane kennel standings at St. Petersburg.
Horses: Eskendereya won Saturday's $250,000 Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream Park, and trainer Todd Pletcher said the horse would likely run March 20 in the $750,000 Florida Derby, a key prep for the Kentucky Derby. Also, D'Funnybone won Gulfstream's $150,000 Hutcheson and is likely pointed toward the Florida Derby as well.
Don Jensen, Times correspondent; Times wires