Canadian Gustafson heads into final round of Bassmaster Elite event with overall lead

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — A first-ever Bassmasters Elite Series win is within Canadian Jeff Gustafson's grasp.

The angler from Kenora, Ont., continues to lead the Elite Series event on the Tennessee River heading into the final round Sunday. Gustafson remained atop the leaderboard after weighing a five-fish limit of 15 pounds five ounces Saturday for an overall total of 48 pounds 13 ounces.

American Steve Kennedy is second overall with 40 pounds 15 ounces. Kennedy's total of 20 pounds 14 ounces Saturday was tops among the 50 anglers competing in the semifinal round with Gustafson's limit second.

Gustafson and Kennedy will be among the anglers vying for the US$100,000 top prize Sunday. The top-10 finishers through Saturday's round qualified for the final day of competition.

Gustafson is one of just five anglers who'll compete Sunday to have posted a five-fish limit in all three previous rounds.

Gustafson is vying to become just the second Canadian to win a Bassmaster Elite Series event. Chris Johnston, of Peterborough, Ont., accomplished the feat last year.

Both Johnston and his older brother, Cory, of Cavan, Ont., competed in the semifinal round Saturday. Cory Johnston finished 45th overall (18 pounds, nine ounces) while Chris Johnston was 50th (13 pounds 12 ounces).

All three Canadians are in their third season with the Elite Series and qualified last year for the Bassmaster Classic, the circuit's premier event that offers a $300,000 prize for the tournament winner.

Gustafson's best-ever Elite Series finish was second in 2019. This will mark the fourth time he's cracked the top-10 in a circuit event.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 27, 2021

The Canadian Press