BY MIKE PANOZZO
Three times Tim Foy Jr. trailed his opponent in the final frame during match play at the USBC Masters, and three times he stared down defeat with critical conversions.
Of course, it’s probably safe to say the 34-year-old Delaware native isn’t easily intimidated, given his day job as a corrections officer at the Maryland State Penitentiary in Baltimore.
“No matter what kind of challenge I’m facing on the lanes, it’s nothing compared with what I have to face in my day job,” he said.
The most memorable of those fantastic finishes was his come-from-behind in over four-time Masters champion Jason Belmonte in the opening round of match play. Trailing by 67 pins after an opening score of 147, Foy fought back and doubled in the final frame to steal the win, 588-585.
“To even have an opportunity to win after being 67 back against a player like Belmo, and then to double to win is the stuff you dream about,” Foy said. “Those were two of the best balls I’ve ever thrown in pressure situations.”
Equally satisfying was congratulatory the text that was waiting for him from his boyhood idol, 35-time PBA Tour champion Parker Bohn III, following his dramatic win over Belmonte.
“My dad and Parker have been friends since childhood, and he’s been my idol since I was a kid,” Foy said. “He’s always been there for me.”
The win earned Foy a rematch with Chris Via. When last they met, Via merely tossed a 300 in their televised match in the PBA Players Championship East Regional Finals, an event Foy snuck into after Bill O’Neill tested positive for COVID just prior to the show.
In Reno, Foy needed a mark in the 10th to overtake Via, which he delivered for a 679-662 win. After losing to Sam Cooley, 699-625, Foy needed a 10th-frame conversion to eliminate Mike Fitzgerald, before being eliminated himself against Mykel Holliman, 709-661, to finish 16th.
“Anytime you finish in the top 16 of a major, you can’t be disappointed,“ Foy conceded. “If you told me at the start of the week that I’d finish top 16, I’d have taken it. So, once the sting of being eliminated settles down, I’ll be happy.”
While Foy finished in the top 10 at the 2016 Masters, he said this year’s performance is a continuation of a year in which his confidence level has reached its highest level.
“I’ve bowled well all year,” he said. “I’ve finished in the top five in a half dozen regionals and I put myself in a position to throw a shot to get on TV [in the Eastern Regional finals of the Players Championship]. I ended up leaving the Big Four, but getting that spot after Bill tested positive was living out a dream. And I threw the ball really well on TV, so no regrets. Nothing wrong with having a front row seat to history with Chris’s 300. It was pretty cool.
“It’s all added to my confidence level running high,” he added. “What it’s taught me is that I can do it at this level.”
Foy appears to be expanding upon that particular lesson this week. He led the U.S. Open PTQ round with a 236.63 average for eight games to earn a berth into an event that may be his most grueling test yet this year.
If his Masters performance is any indication, that is one test Foy seems prepared to ace.