Dom Barrett looked out of sorts in the opening game of the PBA SKILL Ball Challenge championship match against Matt Ogle. He guttered in the second frame and sputtered to a 150, falling to Ogle’s 193.

But in the second game of the Race-to-Two match, Barrett made a pair of bold moves that changed the tides. On the right lane, he moved right of the first arrow with added ball speed; on the left lane, he abandoned a jump left and began throwing the ball hard and straight up the second arrow.

Those creative solutions turned open frames into clean ones, helped him double twice, and extend the match with a win. In the roll-off, Barrett converted a pair of 4-pins to prevail over Ogle and claim the championship.

“Bowling throughout my career, I've never been afraid of committing to making big moves and quick decisions,” Barrett said. “Even though maybe nine-spares is a good frame bowling on this right now, you still can't help but try to catch a double, catch a triple, and strike the right way.”

Though Barrett does not add a PBA Tour title to his résumé, he does earn $16,000 in a triumph over many of the PBA’s best from this season. The eight-player field at Thunderbowl Lanes featured the top performers from this season’s PBA Classic Series, which included five PBA Tour title events.

The PBA SKILL Ball Challenge offered a rare experience for the eight players, which also included EJ Tackett, Sam Cooley, Tommy Jones, Jakob Butturff, Packy Hanrahan and Sean Lavery-Spahr.

Players competed with a single bowling ball: the PBA SKILL 3.02, a non-flaring pearl urethane ball. Several players likened the ball’s reaction to that of a traditional plastic ball.

Additionally, players competed on a pair of oil patterns which utilized one-third the oil volume of a typical PBA pattern. The 35-foot and 46-foot oil patterns had only 8.5 mLs of oil, compared to the 31mL Webb and Anthony patterns used at last month’s PBA Tour Finals.

“What I did there was just try and be as creative as possible,” Barrett said. “I've never bowled the plastic ball tournament or with a plastic ball (on a pattern with) so little volume. I attacked lanes very differently very often, just trying to rack my brain for ideas, but it was pretty cool to do that.”

The evening began with a ceremony to honor Tom Strobl, the longtime proprietor of Thunderbowl Lanes who passed away in April.

Thunderbowl’s arena bay hosted some of the most iconic moments in PBA history, including the inaugural World Series of Bowling in 2009, Jason Belmonte’s record-breaking 11th career major title in 2019, and Anthony Simonsen’s third USBC Masters and fifth career major title earlier this year.

The arena bay will now bear the name of the man who worked tirelessly to help make those moments possible.

“It’s really an honor to be the first winner here in the Strobl Arena,” Barrett said.

Final Scores

Round of 8
No. 8 Matt Ogle def. No. 1 EJ Tackett, 2-0 — 223-212, 217-201
No. 5 Jakob Butturff def. No. 4 Tommy Jones, 2-0 — 213-163, 224-205
No. 7 Sean Lavery-Spahr def. No. 2 Sam Cooley, 2-0 — 192-173, 176-163
No. 3 Dom Barrett def. No. 6 Packy Hanrahan, 2-0 — 200-162, 209-181

Ogle def. Butturff, 2-0 — 170-170 (9-7), 187-159
Barrett def. Lavery-Spahr, 2-1 — 175-201, 222-148, 37-25

Championship Round
Barrett def. Ogle, 2-1 — 150-193, 213-172, 37-24

Final Standings

  1. Dom Barrett, $16,000
  2. Matt Ogle, $10,000
  3. Jakob Butturff, $6,000
  4. Sean Lavery-Spahr, $6,000
  5. EJ Tackett, $3,000
  6. Tommy Jones, $3,000
  7. Sam Cooley, $3,000
  8. Packy Hanrahan, $3,000

More information on the PBA SKILL Ball Challenge is available here.