News Canadian Open

Whyte beats Bottcher to stay undefeated, clinch Co-op Canadian Open playoff spot

RED DEER, Alta. — Ross Whyte will not have to take a detour to get to the playoffs this time in the Grand Slam of Curling.

Whyte and his Scottish squad secured an early spot for the Co-op Canadian Open quarterfinals after climbing to a 3-0 record following a 5-4 comeback victory over Calgary’s Team Brendan Bottcher during Draw 12 Thursday night at Servus Arena.

“It’s brilliant to be qualified for the playoffs,” Whyte said. “It’s always a tough game against Bottcher there. They’re second in the world for a very good reason. To come out there tonight and manage to get the win in a bit of a grind feels great.”

It’s a much different story from last month’s WFG Masters where Whyte needed to play a morning tiebreaker just to qualify. Team Whyte beat Team Niklas Edin then eliminated Team Brad Gushue in the quarterfinals and Team Yannick Schwaller in the semis to reach their first-ever Grand Slam final.

Although they came up short against Team Joël Retornaz, the young squad proved their time is now and they’re out to take that final step.

“Last time we went through tiebreakers, we were knackered but it seemed to work,” Whyte said with a smile. “We’ll take 3-0 just now and hopefully, we can do a good job tomorrow.”

Whyte opened with the hammer but was forced in the first as he was able to come around and tap Bottcher’s shot rock but not hard enough to score more than one point.

The defending champion Bottcher (2-1) went to work in the second to set up an easy draw into the house for a deuce then stole one in the third to make it 3-1. Whyte was unable to navigate the port and called an audible to raise his guard in, however, he wasn’t able to run it far enough to score and only cut down the damage.

Whyte recovered in the fourth and drew for a tying two points then caught a fortunate break in the fifth. Bottcher was aiming to make a double and score a deuce right back, but his shooter rolled out to only get a single to lead 4-3.

After an easy blank in six, Whyte took on a tricky triple takeout in seven to clear the house and retain the all-important hammer for the final frame.

Whyte didn’t need to make any last-shot heroics though to get the winning two points as Bottcher, who had already used up both of his timeouts, almost ran out of time and cut it close to deliver his final rock but missed the mark.

“The blank in seven was pretty key,” Whyte said. “The blank in six wasn’t too bad, but it was one of those where we were trying to force it a wee bit for two but once the blank came about it was OK.

“Then seven, it wasn’t looking great for pretty much the whole end. We managed to scrape out there, blank again and put in a decent end to win the game. We’re pretty pleased and hopefully, we can keep up the momentum.”


Elsewhere in Draw 12, Switzerland’s Team Schwaller also clinched a playoff spot at 3-0 after fending off Winnipeg’s Team Reid Carruthers 8-7.

Although Team Schwaller led 7-3 at the break, Team Carruthers clawed back with a deuce in five followed by back-to-back single steals in six and seven.

Team Schwaller rebounded with the winning point in eight as Team Carruthers dropped to a 1-2 record and must win their final round-robin game Friday to keep their hopes alive.

Norway’s Team Magnus Ramsfjell (1-2) earned their first win to remain in the mix after escaping with a single steal in the eighth end to edge Team Brunner 4-3. The loss eliminated Brunner from contention at 0-3.

Team Gushue of St. John’s, N.L., improved to a 2-1 record with a 4-1 win over Saskatoon’s Team Mike McEwen (0-3).


The Co-op Canadian Open continues Friday with Draw 13 at 10:30 a.m. ET / 8:30 a.m. MT.

Broadcast coverage resumes with Draw 14 at 2 p.m. ET / Noon MT on Sportsnet, Sportsnet+ (Canada) and (international).


The Co-op Canadian Open is the fourth event of the Grand Slam of Curling season featuring 16 of the top men’s teams and 16 of the top women’s teams from around the world. … Round-robin play runs through to Friday evening with the best eight teams in both divisions advancing to Saturday’s quarterfinals. If necessary, a tiebreaker round will be played Saturday morning to determine the final playoff berths. … The semifinals are also on tap Saturday with both finals scheduled for Sunday.