After going winless at the Masters, Sault Ste. Marie’s Brad Jacobs got into the win column early at the fourth Grand Slam of Curling event, the Tour Challenge, which is scheduled for this week in Thunder Bay, Ont.
The Jacobs rink, which includes third Ryan Fry, second E.J. Harnden, and lead Ryan Harnden, opened the six-day event on Wednesday with a 5-4 win over Edmonton’s Brendan Bottcher.
Bottcher jumped out to the early lead by scoring a pair with the hammer in the opening end.
The two teams would trade doubles in the third, fourth and fifth ends and, after a pair of blanks by Bottcher, would head into the final end tied at four.
With the hammer in eight and looking to make a double with his last shot, Bottcher couldn’t remove one Jacobs rock, leading to the steal and the win by the Sault rink.
“It’s nice to break the losing streak,” Jacobs told TheGrandSlamOfCurling.com. I think we just did a really good job of hanging in there, grinding out the win and making him throw his last one. We got a good break and we’ll take it.”
The Jacobs rink is working with Adam Kingsbury as coach for the event. Kingsbury is the former coach of Rachel Homan’s team.
“He’s been great so far. He seems like a great guy and we’re trying him out this event,” Jacobs said. “We haven’t made any commitments or anything like that, but we’ve been in close conversations with him and everyone seems to be getting along quite well.
“I’m pretty sure we’ll make a decision as to what we’re going to do, coach-wise, probably sometime this weekend but certainly from the psychological or mental aspect of the game, he’s a professional. We kind of all believe that’s what we need the most right now, so he brings a lot to the table.”
The Jacobs rink returns to action on Thursday with a pair of games.
Jacobs is set to face Braden Calvert of Winnipeg in the morning draw and Glenn Howard in the afternoon draw.
Jacobs wraps up round robin action on Friday against Calgary’s Kevin Koe.
The Tour Challenge features two tiers with 15 men’s and 15 women’s rinks competing in the top tier. The teams are split into pools of five teams each and include the top 15 teams according to the World Curling Tour’s Order of Merit.
The top eight teams advance to the playoff round on the weekend.
The second tier includes the next 10 teams on the Order of Merit along with five teams each from the Thunder Bay region.