Bottcher downs Koe in Champions Cup final for third straight Grand Slam victory

SASKATOON — Brendan Bottcher won his third consecutive Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling event with a 6-5 extra-end win over Kevin Koe in the Champions Cup men’s final Sunday.

After eight competitive ends, Bottcher didn’t need to throw his last rock in the extra frame after Koe was heavy with his attempt at a freeze with his final shot.

Koe forced the extra end with a steal the eighth after drawing to the button for a freeze with his last shot. Bottcher had the hammer and a chance for the win, but his hard shot jammed on Koe’s stone.

“He made an amazing shot on the eighth end and needed one more in nine. Luckily, we got a little bit of a break,” Bottcher said.

Bottcher and his Edmonton team of third Darren Moulding, second Brad Thiessen and lead Karrick Martin entered the tournament on a roll the Meridian Cup in January in North Battleford, Sask., and the Players’ Championship two weeks ago in Toronto.

Saskatoon treated them equally well. Bottcher won seven consecutive games at Merlis Belsher Place en route to the $40,000 first-place prize.

“I am thoroughly ready for summer,” Bottcher said when asked if he wished there were more Grand Slam events to be played. “I joked with my guys going into the extra that I was pretty sure we only have to throw two more shots and then we are on summer break.

“I’m looking forward to it; our season is so long these days. It’s nice to get a little bit of a break.”

After giving up a steal on the first end, Bottcher came back with three on the second end and never yielded control. He had the draw for the three after Koe’s shooter went under the two shot rocks on a double attempt.

“The three early really set the tone,” Bottcher said. “From that moment on, they were always chasing.”

After a blanked third end, Koe and his Calgary-based team of third BJ Neufeld, second Colton Flasch and lead Ben Hebert scored two in the fourth end to knot the score at three.

Bottcher made a delicate tap back for two in the fifth end to take a 5-3 lead. Had his rock curled another fraction of an inch it would have been for three.

Koe tied the game with a single on the sixth end, one of the most openly played ends of the game. That cut Bottcher’s lead to 5-4 heading to the seventh, which the Edmonton skip blanked.

The women’s final between Kerri Einarson of Gimli, Man., and Silvana Tirinzoni of Switzerland was scheduled for later Sunday.




You may also like...