For one team, it was a new experience while the other was in a familiar position as the National, the third Grand Slam of Curling event of the season, wrapped up at the Essar Centre on Sunday.
The six-day event concluded as Bruce Mouat of Edinburgh, Scotland won the men’s title and Winnipeg’s Jennifer Jones took home the women’s championship.
The men’s final saw Mouat beat Chang-Min Kim of Uiseong, South Korea 9-4, giving the Scottish rink it’s first Grand Slam of Curling title.
Mouat spoke of hoping to use the win as a building-block.
“Hopefully this just builds momentum heading into our Scottish championships,” Mouat said.
“We’ve had a really good season up until now, but this is the best we’ve played,” Mouat also said. “It’s really exciting to see where we can go from here.”
Mouat took the early lead thanks to a steal of one in the opening end.
After Kim scored a pair in the second end to take the lead, the South Korean rink would steal one in the third end to take a 3-1 lead.
Mouat would retake the lead in the fourth end after he tapped out a Kim rock to score three. From there, the Scottish rink would steal one in five and sealing the win in seven as he took out a Kim rock to score four.
Mouat, who becomes the youngest men’s skip to win a Grand Slam event at 23-years-old, went 2-2 in the round robin before picking up wins over Brad Jacobs in a tie-breaker, Kevin Koe of Calgary in quarter-final action and then beating Winnipeg’s Mike McEwen in the semifinals to advance.
Kim grabbed a berth in the final with a steal of two in an extra end to beat John Epping of Toronto in Saturday’s other semifinal.
Both tournament champions earn $30,000 in prize money, the Mouat rink also earns a spot in the Champions Cup, the final Grand Slam of Curling event of the season in April in Calgary. The tournament features tournament winners from throughout the season.
In the women’s final, Jones beat Casey Scheidegger of Lethbridge, Alta. 8-7 for the Winnipeg-based rinks second Grand Slam of the season after winning the Masters last month in Lloydminster, Sask.
“It’s so hard to win a Slam,” Jones said. “It’s nice to come out and play well enough to be in a final and get the win.”
Jones would add that the early success this season has been a by-product of more than just one thing.
“We’ve been working hard and grinding it out and finding ways to win games that maybe we’re not playing well in and making big shots when we have to,” Jones said.
Jones would open the final with the hammer and jump out to a quick 3-0 lead. Scheidegger would get two back in the second but would find herself playing catch-up throughout the game.
Jones would score two more in the third and, although Scheidegger would cut the lead to one again in the fourth, Jones would hit and stick in the fifth for a 7-4 lead and steal one more in the sixth.
Scheidegger would draw for two in the seventh but could not get the required steal of two in the final end.
Jones, who went 4-0 in the round robin, advanced to the final after a win over Alina Paetz of Switzerland in the quarter-final and then Chelsea Carey of Calgary in semifinal action on Saturday.
Scheidegger went 3-1 through round robin action and used a quarter-final win over Rachel Homan of Ottawa and a semifinal win over Tracy Fleury of Sudbury, Ont. to get to the final.