Brad Gushue kicked off the Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling season with a bang capturing his eighth career championship in the series at the Tour Challenge.
The reigning world champion from St. John’s, N.L., downed Norway’s Steffen Walstad 9-1 in Sunday’s Tier 1 men’s final to finish the tournament undefeated at 7-0.
Team Gushue collected $20,000 and qualified for the season-ending Humpty’s Champions Cup, running April 24-29 in Calgary and featuring all of the top winners of the year.
Meanwhile, Jason Gunnlaugson edged William Lyburn 8-7 in an all-Winnipeg battle for the Tier 2 title. The team of Gunnlaugson, third Alex Forrest, second Ian McMillan and lead Connor Njegovan join the elite at the following Pinty’s GSOC event, the Masters, running Oct. 24-29 in Lloydminster.
On the women’s side,Val Sweeting didn’t let an early deficit in the Tour Challenge Tier 1 women’s final Sunday get her Edmonton-based team down.
After giving up a steal of three in the first, Sweeting rallied in the second half and stole a point in the eighth to edge Sweden’s Anna Hasselborg 6-5 and successfully defend the title.
The team of Sweeting, third Lori Olson-Johns, second Dana Ferguson and lead Rachel Brown posted a perfect 7-0 record through the first tournament of the 2017-18 Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling season to earn $20,000 and a berth in the season-ending Humpty’s Champions Cup.
Winnipeg’s Kerri Einarson captured the Tier 2 title for the second time in three seasons with a 7-4 victory over Calgary’s Chelsea Carey. Like Gunnlaugson, her rink qualifies for the Masters.