Team Jacobs captured the 2015 Players' Championship on Sunday in Toronto. (Photo: Anil Mungal)

Jacobs wins 1st Grand Slam at Players’ Championship

April 12, 2015, 10:19 PM

TORONTO — For Team Brad Jacobs, it was the fourth time that was the charm.

Playing in their fourth Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling final, the Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., rink captured their first major together at the season-ending Players’ Championship with a 4-3 victory over Winnipeg’s Team Mike McEwen on Sunday night at Ryerson’s Mattamy Athletic Centre.

“It was a fantastic curling season for us,” Jacobs said. “This is the best we’ve ever played on the cashspiel circuit. I’m really proud of the way we played throughout the World Curling events this year and throughout the Grand Slam series. To pick up this last win is just huge for us.”

It’s the second career Grand Slam title for third Ryan Fry, who won the National in 2010 with Team Gushue, but the first for Jacobs, second E.J. Harnden and lead Ryan Harnden.

“It feels phenomenal,” E.J. Harnden said. “It’s so hard to win these events and it’s the one that we’ve never won. It’s very satisfying, very rewarding and it feels great. We were joking we feel a bit like we’re Phil Mickelson of golf and now that monkey is off our back and hopefully we can win a few more.”

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Jacobs, the reigning Olympic champion, cashed in big at the event too by claiming the Rogers Grand Slam Cup for finishing first overall in the men’s standings to score a $75,000 bonus — for a grand total of $99,500 at the event — but for Harnden that was secondary to winning his first Slam title.

“We really wanted to win our first Grand Slam. Like I said, that was the one thing kind of missing on our resume,” Harnden said. “It’s one of those things when you win, the other things come with it. First and foremost, we wanted to win our first Grand Slam and everything else beyond that is gravy.”

McEwen opened with hammer, Jacobs had one rock buried and McEwen was forced to draw and take a single for one. Facing four in the second, Jacobs’ final stone ticked McEwen’s shot rock but stopped just in time to count one and tie it.

Jacobs made a double with his final shot in three and McEwen threw his last through the house to blank. McEwen got a deuce in four to pull ahead 3-1 but overcurled on his final rock in the fifth and Jacobs capitalized to take two of his own. McEwen blanked the sixth and seventh ends to hold the hammer coming home.

Jacobs’ shot rock was covered by a guard forcing McEwen to draw for the win but the shot was overswept and Jacobs got the single steal.

“It’s one of those shots where I really expected Mike to make it but knew it was going to be a tough shot because the ice was getting a little bit frosty, a little bit fudgy, and as a sweeper I know for myself that’s a tough one to judge,” Harnden said. “It’s unfortunate to win that way and we feel for Mike, that was a tough one. I thought he threw it really well and the shot was made but in the game of curling you’ve got to take it any way you can get it and sometimes it comes out a miss. Fortunately this time it went our way.”

“I just couldn’t say enough good things about Mike and his team,” Harnden added. “I think they’ve had a phenomenal season, we’re going to play them a ton in the future, they push us to work harder and get better, and they’re a great team.”

McEwen won eight events on tour this season including the National in November and the Syncrude Elite 10 last month. His team finished second in the overall standings to get a $40,000 bonus. Masters and Canadian Open champion Brad Gushue, of St. John’s, N.L., finished third in the points to earn an extra $20,000.

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