Cliff Pace is the 2013 Bassmaster Classic champion after a dominant weekend that saw the 32-year-old lead from the opening day right through to the end.
Pace's final mark of 54 pounds, 12 ounces was enough to go home with a comfortable lead over Brandon Palaniuk, who finished in second position.
The 32-year-old had led the competition from the opening day—posting catches of 21-8 on the first day and then 21-12 on the second to hold a commanding lead. Which, despite his smallest catch on the final day, turned out to be the difference in the tournament this weekend.
The man from Petal, Miss. was quoted after the event via Bassmaster: "This is a gift that I will always cherish. This is the ultimate high of a career, a life-changing moment."
Pace became the 43rd man ever to win the Bassmaster Classic.
And truth be told, there was never going to be another outcome in this one after the dominance that Pace had established early in the competition.
With a huge lead in hand and slow fishing forecast for the final day, Pace was seemingly in an impossible position to lose the event—as shown by his smaller catch on the final day but comfortable tournament victory nonetheless.
He had been consistent right throughout the event and deserved the title to fall his way this year, after finishing runner-up in the event in 2008.
Pace took home the mammoth $500,000 prize reward as well as the most coveted trophy of the sport to chalk up what is without doubt the greatest win of his career. He also picked up the Carhartt Big Bass of the 2013 Classic, which will result in another $2,500 coming his way.
All in all, it was a big weekend for Pace, but a deserved one.
He fished well throughout the tournament and had a consistency that no other angler could lay claim to. In the end, it was that consistency that earned him a big lead heading into the final day and a deserved championship trophy at the end of the weekend.
Thoroughly deserved victory for the 32-year-old Pace.
Full standings and weights can be seen via Bassmaster.com