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Lee’s huge last day lands tournament win

March 27, 2017 GMT

Jordan Lee, a 25-year-old Alabamian who has never won a BASS professional bass fishing tournament in his brief career on the BASS tour, came from 15 places back to win the 2107 Geico Bassmaster Classic held on Lake Conroe with a last-day catch of a limit of five largemouths weighing 27 pounds, 4 ounces.The five-fish stringer, the heaviest weighed by the 52 anglers who competed in the March 24-26 world championship of professional bass fishing, gave Lee a total weight of 56 pounds, 10 ounces, one pound, nine ounces more than the 55-pound, 1-ounce total landed by fellow Alabamian Steve Kennedy.

The win, which includes a $300,000 first-prize and can generate many times that in sponsorships and endorsements from angling-related businesses, was announced on a stage in Houston Minute Main Park where daily weigh-ins for the contest were held.

Lee’s last-day surge from nowhere surprised him as much as it did the crowd of several thousand gathered in Minute Maid Park Sunday evening.

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When Lee headed his boat across Lake Conroe Sunday morning for the final day of competition in Bassmaster Classic, the angler figured he’d finish the contest like he had the previous 37 BASS series professional bass tournaments he’d fished during his brief career. While Lee had come close in a few contests, he’d never won. And he was sure he wouldn’t win this contest.

“That thought wasn’t in my mind all day,” Lee said. “I didn’t think I had a chance.”

Lee was 15th in the standings going into the final day of competition, more than 13 pounds behind California angler Brent Ehrler who had led the contest for the first two days and was more than two pounds ahead of his closest competitor going into the final round.

Lee, on the other hand, had finished the first day of the contest in 37th place with a two-bass catch weighing 8 pounds, 6 ounces. By noon on the second day of the contest, Lee had not caught another fish. But he found a productive area off a point in 5-6 feet of water and landed four bass weighing 21 pounds, pushing him to 15th place after two days and making the cut for the contest’s final day when only the top 25 anglers hit the water.

Lee said he used a crankbaits and jig/craw lures to take five fish that proved the heaviest stringer landed by any angler during the contest.

Ehrler had a final-day catch of five bass that weighed 11 pounds, 10 ounces, giving him a total of 54 pounds, 14 ounces.

Angler Steve Kennedy began the final day of the contest in eight place, and had strong showing each day of the tournament. His five-bass stringer on Sunday weighed 21 pounds, 15 ounces, one of the five heaviest stringers taken during the three-day tournament.

Angler Ott Defoe landed Sunday’s heaviest bass, a 9-pound, 9-ounce fish that Defore said hit a topwater plug. Heaviest bass of the contest was a 9-pound, 12-ounce fish landed by Ehrler.

Five Texas anglers competed in 2017 Bassmaster Classic. Todd Faircloth of Jasper was the only one to make the Top 25 cut. Faircloth end the tournament in 25th place.