TORONTO — Winnipeg’s Jennifer Jones has added another trophy to her record haul in the Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling series.
Jones captured her sixth career WestJet Players’ Championship title after doubling up on Edmonton’s Val Sweeting 8-4 in Sunday’s women’s final at Ryerson’s Mattamy Athletic Centre. It is also Jones’ leading seventh women’s title in the series as she also won the inaugural Humpty’s Champions Cup last season.
After falling in the Manitoba provincial semifinal in January and missing out on qualifying for the Scotties Tournament of Hearts, the team of Jones, third Kaitlyn Lawes, second Jill Officer and lead Dawn McEwen shifted their attention to preparing for this event.
“We were a little bit disappointed not being at the Scotties and we really focused on playing well here so to come and win it is great,” said Jones, who earned $30,000 with the victory. “I’m really proud of the girls.”
With six titles to her name, it’s no wonder the 2014 Olympic gold medallist names the WestJet Players’ Championship as her favourite event on tour.
“You’re playing the best of the best,” she said. “It’s always a grind. You know you’re going to have to play your best to win, which is really what you want to do, so we’re pretty pleased with how we played and really pleased with the result.”
Mistakes by the skips in the first couple ends resulted in deuces back and forth. Sweeting was unable to get around and under Jones’ stone in the four-foot circle during the first end, clicking off it and sitting open. Jones delivered a tap for a deuce to take a 2-0 lead. After Jones took out her own with her first skip shot in the second, Sweeting capitalized to split up the rings and finished with a hit and stick to score two and tie it.
Sweeting fell into trouble in the third end with Jones sitting a bunch. She made a come-around draw that just barely missed another stone, but didn’t get deep enough and Jones popped it out with a short runback to score three.
Facing a trio of counters in the fourth, Sweeting went through a port to hit and stick for just a single. Jones had to fire a missile in five to bash out a bunch of counters. She got two of them going, but a third stuck around for a steal.
Sweeting got out of a bit of a jam in six with a double takeout, but Jones delivered a hit and stick to score a deuce to retake the three-point advantage. After Sweeting misfired her last in the seventh, a measurement awarded a stolen point to Jones and the teams shook hands.
“I missed a bad shot in the second end to give up the two,” Jones said. “But other than that I thought we played well and tried to control the ends and never got ourselves into too much trouble.”
The team of Sweeting, third Lori Olson-Johns, second Dana Ferguson and lead Rachel Brown were the big money winners of the day clinching the Rogers Grand Slam Cup with their semifinal win earlier Sunday over Anna Hasselborg’s squad from Sweden. Sweeting claimed her second career Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling title earlier this season at the Tour Challenge and a steady and solid run from that point forward helped her secure the overall season championship prior to the final as Jones finished just one point short of catching her, 43 to 42.
Jones tied with Silvana Tirinzoni of Switzerland and will split the second and third place bonus each taking $32,500. Hasselborg collects $10,000 for finishing fourth.
Sweden’s Niklas Edin picked up the men’s Rogers Grand Slam Cup championship en route to defeating Winnipeg’s Mike McEwen 5-4 in the men’s final. Edin earned his third Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling title of the season following back-to-back wins at the WFG Masters and Tour Challenge.
Brad Jacobs of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., finished second on the men’s side to bank a $40,000 bonus, Gushue gets $25,000 for third and Winnipeg’s Reid Carruthers earns $10,000. McEwen could have caught Carruthers in fourth place if he had won the Players’ Championship.
The 2016-17 Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling season concludes with the Humpty’s Champions Cup running April 25-30 at WinSport Arena in Calgary.