So far, 2017 has been good to Brad Gushue. After a disastrous 2016 that saw him lose the final of the Tim Hortons Brier, a groin injury set in which sidelined him for the rest of the year. But once the calendar turned, the St. John’s native turned his fate around winning the 2017 Brier in his hometown, and capping it off with an undefeated run at the Ford World Men’s Championships.
After opening the season with a win at the Everest Curling Challenge (with an all-star style mixed team), his remarkable run continued this weekend in Regina, where he won the Grand Slam of Curling’s Tour Challenge.
Gushue, along with Mark Nichols, Brett Gallant and Geoff Walker bested Norway’s Steffen Walstad in the final, earning $20,000 and 74.729 points on the Canadian Team Ranking System, and World Curling Tour Order of Merit.
Brad Jacobs (Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.) reached the semifinal, along with Sweden’s Niklas Edin, which earned them both $10,000 and 45.371. Based on the result, Edin currently holds a slim lead over Gushue for No.1 in the WCT rankings, which the Swedes overtook with their win in the Baden Masters two weeks ago.
Edmonton’s Val Sweeting stole a win in the women’s final after Anna Hasselborg’s final draw slipped a little too deep. Sweeting’s foursome, including Lori Olson-Johns, Rachelle Brown and Dana Ferguson, took three in the sixth to tie, and stole the eighth for their third Grand Slam title, and their second consecutive Tour Challenge win.
Sweeting’s team also took home $20,000 and 76.493 points on the CTRS. Winnipeg’s Jennifer Jones reached the semifinals and earned $10,000 and 46.442 points. Jones now sits in third place on the world ranking, just behind Switzerland’s Silvana Tirinzoni, who won last week’s Stu Sells Tankard in Oakville, Ont.
Ottawa’s Rachel Homan, the current world No. 1, failed to reach the playoffs in a Slam for only the second time since 2013.
In the Tier 2 event, Winnipeggers Jason Gunnlaugson and Kerri Einarson took home the prizes, which qualifies them for the next Grand Slam event, the Masters in Lloydminster, Sask. Each team took home $10,000, while runners-up Willie Lyburn (Winnipeg) and Chelsea Carey (Calgary) took home $8,000.
Elsewhere, former world junior champion Bruce Mouat took down Korea’s Chang-Min Kim to win the Biosteel Oakville Fall Classic. Four Ontario teams qualified for playoffs, but all were defeated in the quarter-finals. Semifinalists were USA’s Brady Clark and Switzerland’s Yannick Schwaller.
On the women’s side, it was Russia’s team Uliana Vasilyeva over Newmarket, Ontario’s Susan Froud. Toronto’s Chrissy Cadorin and USA’s Cory Christensen reached the semis.