MUSKOGEE, Okla. – From lines in to lines out, there was no doubt that it was Mark Rose’s Championship Round to win on Long Bay in Fort Gibson Lake for the 2020 Sqwincher Patriot Cup Presented by Venmo trophy.
The Arkansas angler jumped out to a quick first-period lead and never looked back to win his first MLF Cup championship.
Rose finished the day with 25 bass for 41 pounds, 1 ounce, more than 15 pounds ahead of second-place finisher Jordan Lee. Rose maintained nearly a double-digit lead over Lee for the majority of the day, leaving little doubt to the rest of the field who was going to walk away with the win.
It may have been an easy Championship Round, but it wasn’t an easy road to the Patriot Cup trophy for Rose in the early rounds. He was the last angler to qualify in his Elimination Round 3. However, at the tail end of that opening round, Rose figured out a pattern that would carry him to the Championship Round.
“I got one bite flipping in the Elimination Round, so I was able to find more of that in my Sudden Death Round,” Rose recalled. “Today, I was able to find a long and narrow creek where I was targeting green bushes and some hard cover. I was flipping a Strike King Menace, but I also had a swim jig with a Strike King Menace as a trailer. That was really my one-two punch all week.”
The MLF veteran is no stranger to winning: he had eight wins and an Angler of the Year title during a productive career on the FLW circuits. Still, after joining the Bass Pro Tour in 2019 full time, it’s been a new challenge for Rose trying to get back to the top of the sport.
“I work so hard at this sport,” Rose said following his win. “I’ve been able to be consistent, I’ve made a good living, I try to bring out the good in the sport, and I’m very content with just doing well enough. But to win, it just takes the excitement to the next level.”
Along with Rose and Lee, third-place Brent Ehrler qualified for the 2020 General Tire World Championship. Lee and Ehrler stayed in lockstep with Rose for much of the day, although they were unable to close the gap. The two stayed inside the top three for the entirety of the day with Ehrler beating Edwin Evers by 6-1 to claim final spot.
There are still five spots in the 2020 World Championship left up for grabs, three of which will be filled at the conclusion of the 2020 Summit Cup. The remaining two spots will be filled by the two anglers with the most MLF Cup points at the conclusion of the Summit Cup.
The MLF Cup season continues with Elimination Round 1 of the 2020 Summit Cup from Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri. Coverage of the Summit Cup starts Saturday, May 16 at 2 p.m. ET on Outdoor Channel.