GREENVILLE, S.C. – Jordan Lee did it again, coming from back in the pack, and his win Sunday in the 48th Bassmaster Classic etched his name among the giants in bass-fishing history.
Lee was in sixth place after Saturday’s second round and trailed two-day leader Jason Christie by more than six pounds in Lee’s attempt to defend his first Classic title earned last March on Lake Conroe in eastern Texas. He came from 14th place then to knock off the top names in tournament bass fishing.
This time around, when Christie struggled to bring in only 8 pounds, 11 ounces, the 26-year-old Lee, a Bassmaster Collegiate champion from Auburn University, came in with a five-bass limit weighing 16 pounds, 5 ounces. Lee’s three-day total of 47-1 beat out Brent Ehrler’s 46-1 to make him only the third angler to win back-to-back Classic titles.
Christie finished third at 45-15, while former Classic champ Edwin Evers, like Christie from Oklahoma, dropped from second place going into the final day down to 12th place after catching five bass weighing nine pounds.
Lee, of Grant, Alabama, earned his first Classic berth when he was a 22-year-old college senior and has never looked back. His win Sunday and the $300,000 payday made him the youngest competitive angler to hit the $1 million mark in career Bassmaster earnings.
The budding superstar angler became the first back-to-back Classic winner since Kevin VanDam’s tour de force in the 2010 and 2011 Classic, the first on Alabama’s Lay Lake, then the next KVD’s record-setting near 70-pound haul to win from south Louisiana’s Lake Cataouatche. The first to take consecutive titles was Rick Clunn more than 30 years ago.
Louisiana’s two Classic qualifiers Greg Hackney, of Gonzales, and New Iberia’s Caleb Sumrall did not survive the cut to the final 25 for Sunday’s round, but earned $10,000 each for making the 52-angler field.
Lee’s final-day charge will be the highlight of 10 hours of Bassmaster Classic coverage on ESPN2 March 31-April 1.