Cox Wins MLF Invitational on Lake of the Ozarks

Pro John Cox of DeBary, Florida, weighed in five bass totaling 18 pounds, 4 ounces Friday to take the lead after Day 2 at the MLF Tackle Warehouse Invitational Phoenix Stop 4 at Lake of the Ozarks Presented by Mystik Lubricants. Cox’s two-day total of 38 pounds, 5 ounces give him a slim 7-ounce advantage over 19-year-old pro Marshall Robinson of Landrum, South Carolina, who has weighed in 10 bass totaling 37-14 to end the day in second place.

The three-day tournament, hosted by the Tri-County Lodging Association, features a roster of 150 anglers competing for a top prize of up to $115,000 and an invitation to compete at REDCREST 2024, Major League Fishing’s most prestigious event. The full field of 150 anglers concluded the two-day opening round on Friday, with only the top 50 pros based on their two-day cumulative weight now advancing to Championship Saturday.

“It feels good to be here again,” Cox said in his post-game interview. “The last one I won was at Smith Lake (March 2021), and that feels very similar to this place. I do feel like if I end up winning tomorrow it’s going to be because I land on something. Either a pocket with two or three big ones, or something like that. Cause so far, it’s just been super random and I’ve had to do a lot of trolling to run into one of them.

“Luckily today I got a 5-pounder,” Cox continued. “That fish was everything. I worked on that one for a really long time. I had to come back to her, and the wind was blowing hard – it was just terrible. I was just blind pitching and somehow ended up getting her, so I was just super lucky on that one. If I somehow win this thing, I’ll definitely remember that fish catch for a long time.”

Cox spent the majority of the day roaming the shallows targeting bed fish with a 5-inch Berkley PowerBait MaxScent The General worm.

“I saw one really nice one right at the end of the day and I was going to try to catch it, but it was getting really close on check-in time so I decided that I’ll just need to start on it in the morning,” Cox said. “It’s a solid 5 (pounder). If I can catch that first thing, then we’re looking at only needing to catch four for the rest of the day, and I’d feel really good about that.”

The top 50 pros advancing to Championship Saturday at the Phoenix Boats Stop 4 at Lake of the Ozarks are:

1st: John Cox, DeBary, Fla., 10 bass, 38-5
2nd: Marshall Robinson, Landrum, S.C., 10 bass, 37-14
3rd: Drew Gill, Mount Carmell, Ill., 10 bass 37-11
4th: Keith Carson, DeBary, Fla., nine bass, 35-11
5th: Andrew Nordbye, Guntersville, Ala., 10 bass, 35-4
6th: Andy Newcomb, Camdenton, Mo., 10 bass, 33-4
7th: Ron Nelson, Berrien Springs, Mich., 10 bass, 33-2
8th: Tom Redington, Royse City, Texas, 10 bass, 32-7
9th: Tai Au, Glendale, Ariz., 10 bass, 32-0
10th: Charley Slaton, Valliant, Okla, 10 bass, 31-15
11th: Joe Bennett, Ashland, Mo., 10 bass, 31-4
12th: Dylan Hays, Hot Springs, Ark., 10 bass, 30-10
13th: Connor Cunningham, Springfield, Mo., 10 bass, 30-9
14th: Martin Villa, Charlottesville, Va., 10 bass, 30-4
15th: Jordan Hirt, Glenwood, Iowa, 10 bass, 29-13
16th: Robby Lefere, Jackson, Mich., 10 bass, 29-12
17th: Thomas Wooten, Huddleston, Va., 10 bass, 29-7
18th: Jaden Parrish, Liberty, Texas, 10 bass, 29-5
19th: Derik Hudson, Concord, Va., 10 bass, 29-3
20th: Michael Neal, Dayton, Tenn., 10 bass, 29-0
21st: Kyle Schutta, Forest Lake, Minn., 10 bass, 29-0
22nd: Jeremy Southerly, Fulks Run, Va., 10 bass, 28-5
23rd: Brock Reinkemeyer. Warsaw, Mo., 10 bass, 28-10
24th: Bobby Bakewell, Orlando, Fla, 10 bass, 27-14
25th: Kyle Palmer, Winchester, Tenn., 10 bass, 27-13
26th: Joshua Weaver, Macon, Ga., 10 bass, 27-13
27th: Matthew Stefan, Junction City, Wis., 10 bass, 27-12
28th: Shaw Grigsby, Gainesville, Fla., 10 bass, 27-12
29th: Jared Lintner, Covington, Ga., 10 bass, 27-11
30th: Tyler Stewart, Dubach, La., 10 bass, 27-8
31st: Troy Stokes, Trenton, Mich., 10 bass, 27-8
32nd: Brian Latimer, Belton, S.C., 10 bass, 27-7
33rd: Grae Buck, Green Lane, Pa., 10 bass, 27-5
34th: Cody Pike, Powhatan, Va., 10 bass, 27-1
35th: Cody Parker, Ball Ground, Ga., 10 bass, 27-1
36th: David Walker, Huntingdon, Tenn., 10 bass, 27-1
37th: Jordan Collom, Canyon Lake, Calif., 10 bass, 26-14
38th: Kyle Hall, Granbury, Texas, 10 bass, 26-11
39th: Brad Jelinek, Lincoln, Mo., 10 bass, 26-11
40th: Mark Rose, Wynne, Ark., 10 bass, 26-10
41st:  J. Todd Tucker, Moultrie, Ga., 10 bass, 26-10
42nd: Rick Chenoweth, Fredericksburg, Va., 10 bass, 26-6
43rd: Mike McClelland, Blue Eye, Mo., 10 bass, 26-3
44th: Kyle Weisenburger, Columbus Grove, Ohio, 10 bass, 26-0
45th: Andrew Behnke, Fond du Lac, Wis., 10 bass, 25-13
46th: Austin Culbertson, Moberly, Mo., 10 bass, 25-12
47th: Joe Grafeman, Camdenton, Mo., 10 bass, 25-10
48th: Colby Schrumpf, Highland, Ill., 10 bass, 25-10
49th: Dakota Ebare, Brookeland, Texas, 10 bass, 25-10
50th: Hunter Eubanks, Inman, S.C., 10 bass, 25-9

Complete results can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.

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