The story of Boog Krol’s near-impossible ascension to PBA Playoffs champion

The most terrifying foe is often not the strongest one, nor the most skilled one — it is the one who feels he has nothing to lose. No circumstance can faze him; no opponent can intimidate him.

An athlete hellbound on reaching the mountaintop with no fear of plummeting back to its base is one even the game’s top players want no part of. 

David “Boog” Krol embodied that idea this season on the PBA Tour. David slayed Goliath after Goliath, slashing all conceivable expectations for a pre-tournament qualifier (PTQ) player.

The 28-year-old Springfield, Mo. native earned his first two career PBA Tour titles and an exempt berth on the 2025 PBA Tour. Despite starting the season competing in PTQs, Krol finished top 16 on the tour in points and qualified for the PBA Playoffs.

Krol entered the Playoffs, a postseason event loaded with perennial Player of the Year candidates and future Hall of Famers, with the same attitude he carried all season.

“I had nothing to lose,” Krol said. “If I lost, that's cool. I finished in a place where I never thought I would be. But I had everything to gain.”

Krol rattled off televised wins over Zach Wilkins and EJ Tackett in Washington, then took down Bill O’Neill and Jesper Svensson in Florida to win the Playoffs for Krol's second career title.

The improbability of Krol’s five-month ascension from solid regional player to national force cannot be overstated.

“Before the season, you would say that’s probably not possible,” said PBA Commissioner Tom Clark.

“If we go back to January, I was bowling the RPI (Regional Players Invitational) in Las Vegas, and now I'm the Playoffs champion,” Krol said after his Playoffs triumph. “Going through all the PTQs… the fact that we're here now and I have this belt, it's crazy. It is crazy! It hasn't hit me yet. It feels like I’m living the dream.”

Krol soaks in the moment after winning the 2024 PBA Playoffs

 "It feels like I’m living the dream."

Objectively, what an audacious statement. Who could dare dream of winning the PBA Playoffs after starting the season competing in PTQs?

“The little guy has a big heart,” Keven Williams, a fellow Springfield native and PBA Tour champion, said of Krol in March. “He doesn't care about anything besides just being respected, and I think he's earned that respect immediately.”

Both Williams and Dino Castillo, one of Brunswick’s ball reps and a PBA50 Tour player, said Krol’s heart is what makes him special, what makes those close to him believe in him. To that point: Castillo skipped the practice session at the PBA50 Johnny Petraglia BVL Open to support Krol in-person at the PBA Playoffs Finals.

No matter how many PTQs he confronted. No matter how many future Hall of Famers he faced. No matter how many critics ridiculed him, Krol stood tall — well, as tall as he could — because he had something inside him nobody else could match.

Something he didn’t know he possessed until very recently.


Krol finished fourth in the 2022 season’s PBA RPI, a showcase for the top regional tour players in the country. He parlayed that performance into a superb 2023 campaign, in which he won three PBA Regional Tour titles and cashed in three PBA Tour events.

Hidden amidst his excelled 2023 season were the signs of his impending breakout.

In the 2023 PBA Wichita Classic, on a national stage, Krol fired back-to-back 300 games and 31 consecutive strikes. Then in a September regional, Krol averaged more than 259 for 16 games, including four 300 games, to win the title.

Those flashes of brilliance helped build Krol’s confidence, but not enough to commit to pursuing the national tour full-time. He needed one more jolt, and that came from his most vocal supporter: Keven Williams.

Having both grown up in Springfield, Williams and Krol have been close friends for years. But their friendship is not why Williams wanted Krol to commit to the PBA Tour — it was Krol’s talent.

Before the season, Williams predicted Krol would be the breakout player of 2024, calling him “the best-kept secret in bowling.” Williams and Packy Hanrahan welcomed Krol into “The House" and gave Krol the camaraderie he craved.

“The past two years, I have been bowling by myself and rooming in hotels by myself,” Krol said. “Keven and The House guys welcomed me with open arms. Keven watched all my PTQs and helped get me into the main fields. It means the world to have those guys behind my back and always be a text away.”

Williams, Castillo and Krol (from left to right) strategize during the PBA Delaware Classic

If Krol’s confidence needed one more nudge, he earned it right off the jump. Krol advanced out of the season’s first PTQ in the PBA Players Championship and didn’t stop there. 

He averaged over 231 for 24 games to make match play in the major championship. The experience of bowling 24 games of round-robin match play, he said, helped tremendously.

Krol escaped the PTQ at the U.S. Open, the second event of the season, due to his 73rd-place finish in 2023 PBA Tour points. With that weight off his back and his self-belief growing every day, Krol announced to the world that the little kid from Springfield was here to play.

While everyone had their eyes on the potential all-time stepladder — featuring the then-combined 89 PBA Tour titles and 28 major championships of Anthony Simonsen, Jason Belmonte, Kyle Troup, EJ Tackett and Bill O’Neill — Krol steadily rose up the leaderboard.

As the position round neared, and O’Neill drifted apart from the top four players, Krol was preparing his slingshot. With one game to go, Krol had reduced the once-unattainable gap down to less than 80 pins.

Suddenly, the crowd inside Indianapolis’ Royal Pin Woodland grasped the reality of the situation.

Wait, what’s going on? Who is this “Boog” guy? Could Bill really fall out of the show?

In the end, Krol didn’t have enough. O’Neill held onto the fifth seed by 40 pins.

“Luckily for me, we only played eight games tonight. Boog just ran out of games,” O’Neill said. “I told him, ‘Buddy, you’ve got a long career ahead of you here. Keep doing what you're doing and you're gonna make a ton of shows.”

“That whole U.S. Open experience gave me the confidence that I needed to push myself harder,” Krol said. “I've been out here for a couple years on and off. Being so close to that show and having Bill say that to me and Belmo say kind words to me just solidified that I do deserve to be out here. It's only a matter of time before I pop off and make a name for myself.”

“It’s like the dark horse story,” Krol said. “I’m there. You know I’m there. But you haven’t seen me yet.”


Krol’s preseason goal was to finish top 43 in points, which would earn an exemption for the 2025 PBA Tour. After two events, he ranked seventh behind only O’Neill, Troup, Tom Smallwood, Simonsen, Belmonte and Tackett.

It would have been easy for Krol to grow complacent and coast along to something like a 35th place finish in points. Or, perhaps more likely after back-to-back top-15 finishes in major championships, he could have grown frustrated by having to compete in the upcoming four PTQs.

Instead, Krol embraced the challenge.

“I’m going to have to battle through PTQs. It’s inevitable. If I want to be a part of the tour, I’m going to do whatever it takes,” Krol said on the Beef and Barnzy show.

Krol finished fifth in the Illinois Classic PTQ and 54th in the main field. The next event, in his hometown, Krol threw three strikes in the 10th frame to advance out of the PTQ; to close qualifying, he threw three more strikes to make the Round of 24.

Krol’s torrid pace came to a screeching halt in Indiana as he missed the PTQ cut in Anderson. Without earning any points, he dropped to 17th in the season standings.

After his magnificent start to the season, missing one cut should have merely been a bump in the road. Most PTQ players wouldn’t sniff three cuts in a season, let alone the first month. The seven-game sprints pose a challenge, in some respects, even more demanding than the main fields.

But Krol had gotten a taste of what it might be like to be a full-time player. He was not about to give it up.

“Anderson humbled me,” Krol said. “I go from making all these (main field) cuts to missing the PTQ. I don't want to do that. I’ve got to work even harder.”

Knowing that he would only need one or two more solid performances to lock in a top-43 finish, Krol shifted his focus: He wanted to be the PTQ player in the Playoffs.

He spent the week home in Springfield before embarking on his trek to the PBA Delaware Classic. Krol bowled the seven-game PTQ — led it — and then qualified seventh in the main field for match play. 

“I drove 16 hours to be here. I didn't want to bowl seven games in the PTQ and go home,” Krol said.

In match play, Krol took down Hall of Famer Tommy Jones in seven games, then EJ Tackett in seven games. In Game 7 against Tackett, Krol struck on his first seven shots. 

Krol shot 277 to secure his first career championship-round appearance and advance to his first TV show.


In his debut under the lights, Krol battled lane conditions that grew worse with every shot.

With the aid of several, shall we say, fortunate breaks, the No. 2 seed Krol defeated O’Neill to advance to the championship match.

The lanes at Mid County Lanes and Entertainment continued to baffle Krol and top seed Tomas Käyhkö. But Krol stayed clean to take down Käyhkö and earn his first career PBA Tour title.

Krol drove 16 hours to Delaware with nothing to lose. He returned home with his first title, an exemption for the remainder of 2024 and the undeniable conviction that he belonged on bowling’s biggest stage.

However, a vocal minority disagreed with the latter.

In a Pressing Questions segment, Krol mentioned the backlash he received on social media following his first title. The Comment Section Warriors didn’t take too kindly to a two-hander taking advantage of several Brooklyn strikes to beat a traditional one-hander.

“I was really worried about being a one-and-done in Delaware. I didn't want people to be like, ‘Oh, he went Brooklyn 17 times. He got lucky.’ Krol said.

If making the Playoffs wasn’t enough to silence the doubters, his performance in the Playoffs should have been. On dual patterns and in two different settings, Krol averaged over 232 and defeated the No. 1, No. 4, No. 8 and No. 10 ranked players in consecutive televised matches.

“I beat Wilkins. I beat Tackett. I beat Bill. I beat Jesper. It wasn't a fluke. I'm here. I want people to know my name and take me seriously,” Krol said.


After every monumental strike Boog threw this season, even as those strikes shifted from clinching PTQ cuts to winning titles, he roared the same phrase. Those two words served as a reminder of his improbable and meteoric rise to the top of the sport.

That’s right! I can become a weekly contender on the PBA Tour out of the PTQs.

That’s right! I can win a national title.

That’s right! I can make the Playoffs.

That’s right! I can win the whole damn thing.

“(Krol) illustrates how bowling is a sport where anyone — any size, age, height, weight — has a chance,” Clark said. “Even if you’re not out on tour, you have a chance to play your way in and go right to the top. That guy did it, against all odds. There aren’t many sports like that. That should be inspiring to any kid.”

As Clark ran through his mental Rolodex for a player whose story compared to Krol’s, he eventually landed on Tom Smallwood. Smallwood came out of nowhere to win the 2009 PBA World Championship, parlaying that victory into a 15-plus-year career on the PBA Tour.

In that sense, Krol hopes to follow in Smallwood’s footsteps.

“I fought so long for this. I finally trusted myself this year to bowl everything and we’re reaping the benefits right now,” Krol said. “It’s not even about winning a title or winning the Playoffs; it’s knowing and feeling that I can beat these guys every week and that this could be a career I could hold for another 10 years.”

Krol felt he had nothing to lose. In five months, he gained everything he could have ever dreamed of — and more.

Boog will be an exempt player in 2025. He will be on the 2024 Chris Schenkel PBA Player of the Year ballot. He will be drafted, likely quite high, in the PBA Elite League draft.

All he needs now is a partner for the Luci.

“If anyone's looking for a Luci partner, hit me up,” Krol said. “I kind of want to bowl now.”