Benton: ‘It would mean the world’

Drew Benton is a half-hour away from his first Bassmaster Elite Series win. The Panama City, Fla., angler won the first tour level tournament he competed in – an FLW event at Lake Okeechobee in 2013 – when he was 24 years old.

Benton turned 30 on May 20. His previous Elite Series best of 4th place at Florida’s St. Johns River came during his 2016 Rookie of the Year season.

“I won my first ever tour event, that was with FLW,” Benton said Saturday. “I didn’t take it for granted. But I didn’t realize how hard it is to win one of these. It would mean the world to me. You have to put every ounce of your heart and soul into this to win.”

Benton said that before learning he’d been assessed a 15-minute penalty for the start of today’s final, and before knowing the stormy weather he would face. His secondary pattern this week had come during bright sunshine.

If he closes out this one, it will definitely mean the world to him.