LEXINGTON, S.C. — Land O'Lakes Angler of the Year points leader, Clark Wendlandt of Cedar Park, Texas, won $100,000 Saturday in the third event of the $4.4 million 2000 Wal-Mart FLW Tour.
After three days of balmy weather on Lake Murray, a passing cold front brought cloud cover and plunged temperatures into the 30s, forcing anglers to change tactics for the final round of the $500,000 Wal-Mart FLW Tour. But Wendlandt overcame the adverse conditions, delivering a four-bass catch weighing 14 pounds, 6 ounces to capture the title. It was Wendlandt's second career tour victory.
“I really thought it would take 20 pounds to win,” said Wendlandt, who fished from the EverStart boat. “I thought that I didn't have a chance. I was just fishing for fifth place and trying to make it respectable.”
By winning the lucrative tournament, Wendlandt automatically qualifies for the Wal-Mart FLW Tour Championship presented by CITGO Sept. 13-16, 2000, in Shreveport, La. There, he will fish against 49 of the world's top bass anglers for $250,000 – the richest first-place prize in bass fishing series history.
Second place and $35,000 went to Gary Klein of Weatherford, Texas, for a three-bass catch weighing 13-3, including one fish weighing 7-2. He fished from the Timex boat. Mickey Bruce of Buford, Ga., placed third and collected $20,000 for a five-bass catch totaling 13-1 from the Energizer boat. Koby Kreiger of Osceola, Ind., finished fourth and earned $16,000 for a three-bass stringer that weighed 9 pounds. His catch came from the Poulan/Weed Eater boat. Fifth place went to John Sappington of Wyandotte, Okla., who fished from the BFGoodrich boat and weighed in a three-bass, 7-15 catch worth $14,000.
Mickey Bruce of Buford, Ga., earned the Energizer “Keeps On Going” award for the greatest comeback during the event. Bruce fought back from 39th place after day one to make the final round.
Boasting a $4.4 million purse, the 2000 Wal-Mart FLW Tour is the most lucrative bass fishing series in history. The fourth stop on the seven-event $4.4 million tour is the $1 million Wal-Mart Open on Beaver Lake in Bentonville, Ark., April 12-15.
Evinrude Outboards presented the Lake Murray tournament, which will air May 6 on ESPN at 1 p.m. EST.