VanDam, from Kalamazoo, Mich., was the 2009 Bass Angler of the Year. He won the Classic on Lay Lake by 5 pounds on Sunday, weighing in the biggest catch of the third and final day of competition.
A limit that weighed 19 pounds, seven ounces, gave VanDam a 3-day total of 51 pounds, six ounces and the first prize of $500,000.
"I knew (Beeswax) creek would warm-up with the weather, and when it did I knew the bass would turn-on," VanDam said. "I was fishing a Red Eye Shad in the gold color and the Sexy Shad color. The bait would fall and swim down toward the bottom. As it hung-up on grass and stumps, I would jerk it off. That's when the bass would attack."
Oklahoma's Jeff Kriet, who led VanDam by two ounces after Saturday's second round, slipped to second, catching 14-5 on Sunday for a 46-6 total and $45,000. Texas Todd Faircloth had a 12-5 limit on Sunday for 44-3, third place and $40,000.
Rounding out the top five were local favorite Russ Lane of Alabama with 18-1 for 43-12 and $35,000, and Kansan Brent Chapman with 16-12 Sunday for 37-14 and $25,000.
Lane had the biggest fish on Sunday, a 6-2 lunker.