Georgia’s Laura Gober Charges into First Place at Women’s Bassmaster Tour Event on Louisiana’s Red R

SHREVEPORT-BOSSIER CITY, La. - Climbing from fifth place, Laura Gober of Pendergrass, Ga., captured the second-day lead at the season finale of the Mercury Marine Women’s Bassmaster Tour presented by Triton Boats event on the Red River out of Shreveport-Bossier City, La.

Gober’s two-day weight of 23 pounds, 11 ounces, put her ahead of Debra Petrowski of Arlington, Texas, by less than 2 pounds. Petrowski’s two-day total of 21 pounds, 15 ounces, pushed her up from seventh into second place.

Eighty-one pros are competing on the Red River for a $50,000 Triton/Mercury boat rig and all-important points in the Toyota Women’s Bassmaster Tour Angler of the Year race. The tournament, which finishes up Saturday, is the pros’ final chance to earn points to improve their AOY standings.

AOY points leader Sheri Glasgow of Muskogee, Okla., moved up Friday from eighth place to sixth, putting her in position to finish the season with the AOY crown in hand. Glasgow’s 20-pound, 9-ounce, weight on Friday — about 3 pounds out of first — also gives her a shot at her second WBT victory.

The points race also determines which anglers qualify for the 2008 Women’s Bassmaster Tour Championship, Feb. 21-23 on Lake Keowee in conjunction with the 2008 Bassmaster Classic on Lake Hartwell out of Greenville, S.C., Feb. 22-24. Only the top 12 pros and top 12 co-anglers will win a WBT championship berth.

Finishing Friday in third place was Sammie Denyes of Baker, Fla., with 21 pounds, 12 ounces. Fourth was one-time WBT winner Juanita Robinson of Highlands, Texas, with 21 pounds, 6 ounces. After bringing just three fish to the scales, first-day leader Lisa Johnson of Center, Ala., fell to fifth place with 20 pounds, 15 ounces.

Friday’s leader said she’s working an area no other contenders have discovered. “I just hope it holds up tomorrow,” said Gober, who works in the banking industry. “But I have about four holes, one I feel I can get a limit out of Saturday. There are still some bigger fish in there.”

Petrowski, a mail carrier, is posting her best performance so far in a WBT event.

“I have a lot of confidence going into the third day because I still haven’t gone to my main spot,” she said. “Today I took the keepers out of my second spot so Saturday, I can go for the win.”

Co-angler Karol Whitehurst of Winnsboro, Texas led her division Friday with 19 pounds, 2 ounces, well in front of Cheryl Bowden of Plano, Texas, who had 13 pounds, 15 ounces. In third was Linda Thomas of Pryor, Okla., who trailed Bowden by just 6 ounces. In fourth place with 12 pounds, 11 ounces, was first-day leader Robertina Filburn of Tennessee, and fifth was Lesa Brown of Arkansas with 12 pounds, 6 ounces.

Co-anglers are competing for $1,000 cash and a Triton/Mercury boat rig valued at $25,000.

The field was cut to the top 25 pros and top 25 co-anglers for Saturday’s competition. Launch will be at 6:50 a.m. CT and weigh-in at 3 p.m. CT at Red River South Marina in Bossier City. Live, streaming video will be available on, along with a real-time leaderboard of the weigh-ins beginning at 3 p.m. CT.

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Sponsors of the Women’s Bassmaster Tour include Mercury Marine, Triton Boats, Lowrance Electronics, MotorGuide, Advance Auto Parts and Plano. Local sponsors of the Red River event include the Shreveport Regional Sports Authority and Bass Pro Shops.