OLDS, Alta. — Brad Jacobs and his team aren’t focusing on the fact that the KIOTI Tractor Champions Cup is their last event together. They’re just focused on winning.
The Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., crew will part ways following the season-ending Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling tournament with the skip stepping back for at least a season.
Save the emotions for the end as Team Jacobs kicked things off in the win column with a 6-5 extra-end victory over Edmonton’s Team Karsten Sturmay on Tuesday.
“I think right now we’re not talking about the fact that it’s our last event a whole lot,” Jacobs said. “We’re trying to avoid it at the moment because we want to focus and play well. We’re trying to avoid being too sentimental.
“We want to focus and put on a really good performance and hold our heads high at the end of this season. That’s what we’re trying to do. But everybody is excited to play and that’s really all that matters.”
Things didn’t start off too well for the seven-time Grand Slam champion Jacobs as his team gave up a steal of two in the second end and conceded another point in the fifth to fall behind 4-1.
Jacobs’ patience for a big end paid off in the sixth as he capitalized on a miss from Sturmay to score four points and jump ahead 5-4.
Sturmay blanked the seventh to retain the hammer for the eighth but was only able to count an equalizing single to force overtime.
“I think we did a really good job of being patient,” Jacobs said. “I would say in the early stages of that game, we were just a little off. Things weren’t quite going our way and it seemed like with Sturmay’s team, their rocks were ending up in really great spots whether they tried to get there or not and it was a little bit frustrating.
“I’m really just proud of the way that the guys kept their cool. We were all level-headed and knew that we would have the opportunities and sure enough we saw that in the sixth end when we got a miss and were able to get four and take control of the game.”
Meanwhile, Team Soo-Hyuk Kim of South Korea scored a single in the eighth end to stun defending champions Team Bruce Mouat of Scotland 6-5. Mouat is playing without third Grant Hardie (personal commitments) with alternate Ross Whyte getting the call off of the bench this week.
Team Madeleine Dupont of Denmark stole a point in the extra end to beat Winnipeg’s Team Jennifer Jones 5-4. Jones looked to make a double but missed the back counter. It’s also the last event for Team Jones, who are also splitting up after the season.
Team Un-Chi Gim scored four in the seventh end and doubled up on Team Eun-Jung Kim 8-4 in a South Korean derby.
The KIOTI Tractor Champions Cup continues with Draw 2 at 2:30 p.m. local time at the Olds Sportsplex.
Pool play runs through to Friday with the quarterfinals and semifinals scheduled for Saturday and both finals set for Sunday.
The KIOTI Tractor Champions Cup is the fourth and final Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling event of the 2021-22 season featuring 12 men’s teams and 12 women’s teams who have won top tour titles in order to qualify. … A combined $210,000 prize purse is up for grabs with the winning teams earning $25,000 plus berths to next year’s KIOTI Tractor Champions Cup.