Grand Slam wins for Koe and Tirinzoni
For a while, it looked like Rachel Homan was going to win her second straight bonspiel without losing a game. Unfortunately for the Ottawa skip, and her team of Emma Miskew, Joanne Courtney and Lisa Weagle, their season-opening win streak ended at 13. A come-from-behind win by Switzerland’s Silvana Tirinzoni stole the Grand Slam of Curling’s Tour Challenge championship, and the $21,000 pay day. Homan still took home $17,500 and more importantly 59.675 points on the Canadian Team Ranking System. That, combined with her points from last week’s Oakville win, put Team Homan in first place on the CTRS with a massive lead over all challengers. Tirinzoni, meanwhile, gained 75.95 points which moves her up the World Curling Tour’s Order of Merit, where she sits fifth overall (based on two-years’ performance), but only second to Homan this season.The Paradise, N.L. crowd also got to see local favourite Brad Gushue (St. John’s) in the final vs. Calgary’s Kevin Koe. After some back-and-forth, Koe was able to make the clutch draw in the extra end for the championship and $24,500. While Koe gained 75.408 points on the CTRS, Gushue got 59.249, which gives him the top CTRS spot in this young season. Players praised the atmosphere in Paradise, as many of the draws packed in sold out crowds. This bodes well for the recently announced 2017 Tim Hortons Brier in St. John’s. The event also featured a second tier of competition. Local teams, and other entries from outside the top 15 were able to compete for an entry into the next Grand Slam event, the Masters in Truro, N.S., later this fall. Jim Cotter (Vernon, B.C.) took down Mark Kean (Stoney Creek, Ont.) in the Tier 2 final, which earned him a share of the $50,000 pot and 34.72 points on the CTRS. They’ll also gain entry to the Truro event, which is a chance to earn more points, thanks to the recently overhauled CTRS/Order of Merit system. In the women’s event final, Winnipeg’s Kerri Einarson took down Regina’s Chantelle Eberle. On top of the Masters berth, she took home $9,200 and 44.892 points. Points are calculated on a strength-of-field factor, which compensates for the ranking of competing teams. In both tiers, the women’s field featured more higher-ranked teams than the men, so points awarded reflected that.