Kevin Martin, John Morris, Marc Kennedy and Ben Hebert celebrate after winning the 2010 Canadian Open. (Photo: Anil Mungal)

Kevin Martin wins record fifth Canadian Open title

January 24, 2010, 3:00 PM

WINNIPEG — Kevin Martin has won his fifth Canadian Open title and record 14th Grand Slam defeating reigning champ Glenn Howard 6-4 in Sunday’s final.

The Edmonton-based team of Martin, third John Morris, second Marc Kennedy and lead Ben Hebert — who are set to represent Canada in a few weeks at the Winter Olympics — bounced back following a disappointing run at the National earlier this month where they finished 1-4 and missed the playoffs.

Martin hasn’t lost a game since then sliding through the Canadian Open with an undefeated 8-0 record as his team now head into the Vancouver Games.

“You can’t ask for better [Olympic] preparation than this, with the ice being almost perfect and probably a lot like it will be in Vancouver,” Martin said. “I know [Norway's Thomas Ulsrud] would feel the same way. It was great for them to be here and play on those kinds of conditions and just to get ready and you can’t find better competition than the Grand Slam either. So the timing is perfect.”

Martin jumped out to an early 4-1 lead making an open hit in the first end to count two and adding another deuce with a tap back in the third frame.

The teams exchanged singles through the fifth and sixth ends as Martin maintained the three-point advantage. Howard pulled off a double takeout to score two in the seventh, but gave up the hammer for the final end trailing by one. Martin tacked on another point coming home as Howard fell short on his last when he came up short on his attempt to draw around a guard and into the four-foot circle.

“It’s nice to get [another Slam], it’s been a while,” said Martin, whose snapped a Grand Slam drought with his previous major win coming at the National in December 2007. “Everybody is so tough in these events and to win one is huge and you just have to get back on the track. Once you start to not win them, it’s tough to get back on that winning track.”

Team Martin takes home $25,000 and 40.000 Canadian Team Ranking System (CTRS) points.

Howard, from Coldwater, Ont., is backed up by third Richard Hart, second Brent Laing and lead Craig Savill. They finished with an overall 7-1 record to pocket $17,500 and 27.000 CTRS points. Team Howard has been on a roll in the series reaching the finals in seven of the past Grand Slam events with five title wins.

Martin topped Howard last month in the Canadian Olympic Curling Trials final.