Glenn Howard, Richard Hart, Brent Laing and Craig Savill celebrate after winning their first career BDO Classic Canadian Open title. (Anil Mungal)

Ontario’s Howard wins Canadian Open

January 25, 2009, 4:30 PM

WINNIPEG — Glenn Howard of Coldwater, Ont., captured his first career BDO Classic Canadian Open title Sunday with an 8-4 win over Edmonton’s Kevin Martin.

The Classic was the third leg of the 2008-09 Capital One Grand Slam of Curling.

With the victory, Howard joins Martin and Wayne Middaugh of Midland, Ont., as the only skips to win all four legs of the men’s Capital One Grand Slam of Curling series.

“I’m pretty proud of (winning all four slam titles),” Howard said. “To win any slam when you’ve got 16 of the best teams in the world is special. To win every one of them now is kind of like the Tiger slam.”

Martin and Howard have dominated the Capital One Grand Slam of Curling series, combining to win 10 of the past 11 titles with each skip capturing five titles apiece.

Howard’s victory was also his fourth Grand Slam of Curling title in the past five series events and his seventh championship overall.

With Martin ahead 3-2, Howard took the lead for good in the fourth end after executing an open hit for two points. Howard extended his lead to 5-4 in the fifth frame after capitalizing on a Martin miscue for a steal of one.

In an error-filled fifth end, Martin had an opportunity to throw a double to score two points. However, the reigning World Champion threw his shot wide, removed Howard’s rock on the top of the rings, and watched his stone roll out.

“That was the big one,” Martin said. “We make that and we’re one up and back in control. We miss it and now we’re two down. That was the real turning point.”

Howard sealed the game in the seventh end when he executed a difficult, thin double takeout to score three points.

“I tried to just miss the top one and get the back one,” said Howard. “It was fortunate obviously. I did not try to make that double.”

As tournament champions, Howard, who finished with a record of 6-2 won $24,000 and earned 36.000 Canadian Team Ranking System (CTRS) points. By finishing second with a record of 7-1, Martin’s squad took home $17,500 along with 27.000 CTRS points.

Howard’s victory also propelled his team into the overall lead in the Capital One Cup standings with 25 points. Martin and Brad Gushue of St. John’s, N.L., are tied for second with 21 points.

The Capital One Cup is a points-based competition that rewards the top three men’s and women’s teams in the Grand Slam of Curling events.

The top men’s and women’s teams in the Capital One Cup standings will each receive $50,000. The second and third place men’s and women’s squads will each receive $25,000 and $10,000 respectively.

The BDO Classic Canadian Open was also the site of the finals of the Capital One Million Dollar Button contest. Ron Trottier, 64, of Osoyoos, B.C won $10,000 after his rock landed in the eight-foot ring, 35 inches from the button.

“When I let it go, I thought I had it,” said Trottier. “It was amazing. I’ve never had so many people cheer for me before.”

Trottier had just one opportunity to cover the button for $1 million.

The Grand Slam of Curling is a series of eight men’s and women’s events that boast Canada’s deepest curling fields. It’s also one of a select few events tied to qualifying for the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, with rinks earning points toward securing a berth at the 2009 Canadian trials.