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Local favorite Casey Ashley wins Bassmaster Classic at Lake Hartwell


GREENVILLE — Local favorite Casey Ashley won the Bassmaster Classic on Sunday in rainy, overcast conditions at Lake Hartwell with three-day total of 50 pounds, 1 ounce.

The 31-year-old Ashley has lived a few miles from Lake Hartwell all his life.

"I know everybody wanted to win this tournament, but they couldn't have wanted to win more than I did," Ashley said. "I broke that record — that nobody can win on their home lake. There have been a lot of guys who said they fished the Classic on their home waters through the years when it really wasn't their home waters. It was just close to their home. But these are really my home waters. This is my backyard — and that's special."

An accomplished singer, songwriter and musician in addition to his career as a pro angler, Ashley opened the event with a rendition of the national anthem Friday before Friday's frigid opening-round takeoff at Green Pond Landing. He had a catch of 20-3 on Sunday to jump from fifth to first.

"I knew I had to catch a big bag today, and the weather was textbook for me," Ashley said. "It all came together, and I could just see it getting closer and closer and closer."

Ashley earned $300,000.

Bobby Lane of Lakeland, Florida, was second at 46-15. Japan's Takahiro Omori, the second-round leader, was third at 44-3.

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