Reigning AOY Michael Neal of Dayton, Tennessee, once again clinched the 2022 Pro Circuit AOY title Sunday, after ending the event in 15th place. Neal overtook Josh Butler of Hayden, Alabama, who had a 14-point lead coming into the event, and now becomes the third pro in Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit history to win the AOY in consecutive years, joining Andy Morgan of Dayton, Tennessee, (2013, 2014) and David Dudley of Lynchburg, Virginia, (2011, 2012). Neal will receive his entry fees paid for the entire 2023 Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit season for his win.
“I came into the year with the goal of winning AOY again, and while the reality of that didn’t seem very possible, you’ve always got to have those types of goals in mind,” Neal said. “However, to actually win it and to be in the company of the other anglers that have achieved that goal – that’s pretty special.”
The Tennessee pro said he is ecstatic for the win but has no intention of letting up on the gas, and plans to finish out the season strong at the Pro Circuit TITLE on the St. Lawrence River next month in Massena, New York.
“A championship win is what my career is lacking at this point,” Neal said. “I had a good finish on the St. Lawrence River at the TITLE last year and I’m starting to figure out smallmouth a little better, so I’m looking forward to that as well.”