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Jacobs rink to open against Gunnlaugson at National

The six-day event opens with a pair of draws on Tuesday at the Essar Centre
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2016-12-09 Team Jacobs Grand Slam of Curling KA
Team Jacobs at the Grand Slam of Curling in Sault Ste. Marie - Dec. 2016. Kenneth Armstrong/SooToday

Tuesday is the official opening of the 2017 National, the third event, and second major, on the Grand Slam of Curling schedule.

The six-day event is set to feature 30 of the top men’s and women’s curling teams split into three pools of five teams each.

For Sault Ste. Marie’s Brad Jacobs and his team from the Community First Curling Centre, the tournament will open on Tuesday night against Jason Gunnlaugson of Winnipeg, Man.

While Jacobs looks to repeat as the champion at the National, Gunnlaugson is looking to build on a season that has seen the Manitoba-based rink pick up a win in the Grand Slam opener at the Tour Challenge. Gunnlagson won the Tier 2 event at the Tour Challenge in the first event of the season.

The Gunnlaugson rink would then make a playoff appearance in the Masters, the second Grand Slam event of the season after a 2-2 round robin record that included wins over John Epping and John Morris before losing in the quarter-final to Kevin Koe.

Team Jacobs, which includes third Ryan Fry, second E.J. Harnden and lead Ryan Harnden, made playoff appearances in the opening two Grand Slam events as well.

Jacobs made it to the semifinal of the Tour Challenge, before dropping a 5-2 decision to Brad Gushue and then advanced to the quarter-final in the Masters before dropping a 6-3 decision to Mike McEwen.

Also on the schedule for the Jacobs rink in the National are games against Greg Drummond in draw 6 on Wednesday night (8 p.m.), Kevin Koe in draw 10 on Thursday night (8 p.m.) and William Lyburn in draw 13 on Friday afternoon (4 p.m.).

The round robin wraps up with Friday’s 4 p.m. draw.

Pending the need of tie-breakers, Friday’s evening draw could potentially see a pair of women’s quarter-finals with the remainder of quarter-final action set for Saturday with the women at 1 p.m. and the men at 5 p.m.

Semifinal action is set for 9 p.m. Saturday with the men’s final on Sunday and noon and the women’s final to follow at 4 p.m.